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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Parable of the Drag Net

We have now come to the seventh parable (often considered the last by many), The Parable of the Drag Net. Note the specifics attached to this parable which will help us connect it to other things in the Book of Matthew.
“This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."-Matthew 13:49 
  • end of the age
  • blazing furnace
  • angels
  • separating wicked and righteous
  • weeping and gnashing of teeth

We see this language in The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares:
The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The tares are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. “As the tares are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.-Matt 13:38-43
A The Sower
- B WHEAT AND TARES
-- C Mustard Seed
--- D Leaven
--- D Treasure
-- C Pearl
- B DRAG NET
A The Scribe

So why the redundancy? Again, we note the audience and setting of the parables. The Wheat and the Tares is given to the multitudes, outside the house, by the sea. The Drag Net is given inside the house to the Lord’s inner circle. So, as we noted the similarities, we now note the differences.

In the former we have “wheat” and “tares” sewn. In the latter, we have a great harvest of fish from the sea. The former is a warning to Israel that their land may be filled with the multitudes, but who is truly a son of the kingdom may only be obvious at the end of the age. The seed picture individuals.

Gentiles nations are pictured as the raging sea in scripture. In the latter we see the “righteous” gentiles harvested. But what does this have to do with the House of Israel? Much in every way! As we will see in Matthew 25, much of their judgment will have to do with how they treat “the least of [His] brethren [Jews]” during the tribulation.

[Aside: we looked at the harvest of fish in John 21 as the resurrected Lord presented Himself to seven of the twelve disciples. We saw the "12 baskets full" of the what was left of the loaves (wheat) and the fish at the feeding of the 5000 in Matt 14, etc.]

As these judgments are “at the end of the age,” we must not apply them as universal to all men of all ages. They will be at the end of the next age (when Israel is back at the center of God’s plan and the Acts age is finally consummated). The blazing fire we have covered elsewhere, but I note again it is the “Gehenna” fire. We know of this from Isaiah 66 where Israel is back in the land and “corpses” (dead bodies) are thrown into that real, earthly conflagration.

Note the differences in rewards, hopes and judgments in scripture which we have looked at over time. (Our next thought will be a brief review.)

KJV NOTICE: The KJV reads “end of the world” in these passages. That does some violence to the context as we have noted previously. The Greek word is “aiṓn” which speaks of an “age,” not necessarily the end of the physical earth.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Parable of the Hidden Treasure

I realized I didn't have an official post on The Parable of the Treasure. I did cover it, in contrast form, in the posts on the Peal and the Leaven. Here is a quick review from those posts:

PEARL:
Whereas the Treasure is set against the Leaven, the Pearl is set against the Mustard Seed. The Treasure is found in the land, the pearl is found in the sea. The treasure is whole, the pearl is found in the shell. The man buys the whole field to gain the hidden treasure, the pearl alone is worth all.

LEAVEN:
To the multitudes by the sea, Israel is a confusing mass of religious tradition, but the Lord sees a hidden treasure which we shall see in the next and corresponding Parable of the Hidden Treasure. The Lord always has his remnant, even if man cannot see it.

A The Sower
- B Wheat and tares
-- C MUSTARD SEED
--- D LEAVEN
--- D TREASURE
-- C Pearl
- B Drag Net
A The Scribe

The Parable of the Treasure is the first given inside the house. This is not meant for the multitudes. It is a message of hope for Israel in the land.

The Greek word translated "field" here is the word "agrós." The idea is a specific hamlet. This is a remnant within a village. But while the whole field is purchased, the treasure is hidden by the owner.

In 1 Kings 19 we hear the Lord saying this to a despondent prophet Elijah:

It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, [King] Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, [the prophet] Elisha will kill. Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”-1 Kings 19:18-19

God is showing himself strong on behalf of Israel. He has chosen a new king (to replace wicked Ahab) and a new prophet (who will perform twice the miracles of Elijah).

Elijah speaks to the Lord:
“I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”
1 Kings 19:10

Elijah had been hiding in a cave, thinking that Israel was in full apostasy, and that the Lord was abandoning him and it. But knows those who are His.

It is not by accident that John the Baptist was said to be a type of Elijah; that the Lord was said by some to be Elijah; that Elijah appeared with the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration and that Elijah will come to Israel before the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord (Mal 4:5); the period known as the Great Tribulation and seen by John in the Revelation (Rev 1:10).

Paul clarifies in the Acts Age epistle of Romans that God is not done with Israel by appealing to Elijah's experience in 1 Kings 19:

I say then, has God cast away His people? CERTAINLY NOT! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Even so then, at this present time there is a REMNANT according to the election of grace.
-Rom 11:1-5

GOD IS NOT DONE WITH ISRAEL!

At the end of the Acts Age she was temporarily set aside as God revealed a new Body which was hidden from BEFORE the foundation of the world. But when this present age ends, Israel will again be at the center of God's plan.

The field will be purchased and the hidden treasure revealed.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Parable of the Pearl of Great Price

We come now to the parable of the Pearl of Great Price. At first glance this parable might seem the same as the Parable of the Treasure. The do have this in common: they are both worth all the finder has. However, the Lord wants us to "compare the things that differ" in His word (Phil 1:10 YLT).

Whereas the Treasure is set against the Leaven, the Pearl is set against the Mustard Seed. The Treasure is found in the land, the pearl is found in the sea. The treasure is whole, the pearl is found in the shell. The man buys the whole field to gain the hidden treasure, the pearl alone is worth all.

A pearl is created through suffering. It is molded over time as an unwanted irritant. This is perfect picture of the scattered Jew among the nations (the sea). Through suffering, protected in the shell (clams are not kosher), the pearl is formed. The pearl is taken out of the shell and out of the sea.

Jews were scattered among the nations, but God has never forgotten his promises to them. It was to confirm these promises that the Lord came (Rom 9:4; 15:8) and what the Apostles preached in the Acts.

"And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them."-Ezekiel 36:18

This verse in Ezekiel preceded the wonderful last section of the prophecy which speaks of the resurrection of Israel as a nation, her restoration to the land and the rebuilding of the millennial temple. The Promises of God are yes and amen!

This is central to the New Covenant as spelled out in Jeremiah 31:

Thus says the Lord,
Who gives the sun for a light by day,
The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night,
Who disturbs the sea,
And its waves roar
(The Lord of hosts is His name):
“If those ordinances depart
From before Me, says the Lord,
Then the seed of Israel shall also cease
From being a nation before Me forever.”
-Jer 31:35-36

Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah... the prophets speak clearly of the full restoration of Israel and her place as a royal priesthood, a kingdom of priests for the nations.

"Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you"
-Zech 8:23

A Sower
- B Wheat and tares
-- C MUSTARD SEED
--- D Leaven
--- D Treasure
-- C PEARL
- B Drag Net
A The Scribe

Outward Israel has grown into a large tree from a small seed, wherein the fowls of the air have found rest. In this sprawling nation there is a hidden treasure and further, a small, suffering, valuable pearl of great price.

Israel will fulfill the promise of Abraham, to be a blessing to all nations! She will be restored. She will be a blessing to Gentiles! Yet some "sons of the kingdom" will be cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 8). This is not traditional "hell" (beware the traditions of men!), these are those who will initially refuse to acknowledge the Messiah. In their place, some grafted-in gentiles will sit with Abraham in the kingdom.

“Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. But THE SONS OF THE KINGDOM will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
-Matt 8:10-12

Remember from the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, the SONS OF THE KINGDOM are not "the church" but the seed sown by the Son of Man.

“He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom..."-Matt 13:37-38

This is the "good seed." These are the true children of Israel. Yet we know, that is not enough. One must also have faith.

‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’
-Isaiah 49:6

God will restore the Kingdom to Israel, yet entrance into the full blessing is for those who will repent and acknowledge their Messiah.They will look on him whom they have pierced. They will morn for a son of Israel, a brother according to the flesh. Jews are his "brethren" (this will be vital to understanding the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats of Matt 25).

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.
-Zech 12:10-11


A Note on the Context of Matthew and Acts

As we start on the final four parables of Matthew 13, I want to pause and add a note about the context of Matthew and the Acts age. We've covered this in previous posts, but it bears repeating.

Peter in Acts 5 teaching of the Lord's ministry and his purpose:

"God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins."

The Lord's ministry was to "confirm the promises made to the [Hebrew] fathers" (Rom 15:8). The Acts age was a continuation of the call for Israel to repent (as Peter preaches post-Pentecost in Acts 3 and 5). If she had, the kingdom of heaven would have come in then (it was "at hand").

"Now, fellow Israelites... Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets." (Acts 3)

This was not an empty promise. The "times of refreshing" for Israel would have come had national Israel repented.

Remember, the one question they had after enlightenment by the Holy Spirit and after 40 days of the resurrected Lord personally instructing them:

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)

This is the context that will help us understand not only the parables of Matthew, but also the Book of Acts and its epistles as well.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Parable of the Leaven

We come to the fourth of the eight parables in Matthew 13, and the last given outside the house; the Parable of the Leaven.

Leaven in scripture is always presented as a polluting agent; that is, as a picture of sin. The sacrifices picturing the Lord Jesus are always without leaven. No offering by fire was to contain leaven (Lev 2:11; 6:17; 10:12).

E.W. Bullinger writes in Appendix 38 of The Companion Bible: 
"In Lev. 23:17 [leaven] is used in that which symbolizes mankind, and in a proper sense of being corrupted. The sin-offering associated with the leaven in the two wave-loaves corresponds with this. In Amos 4:4,5 it is either the language or Figure of Irony; or, it shows that the 'thanksgiving with leaven' is symbolical of the sin which is ever present even in the worshipers of God. Thus in every instance it is associated with, and symbolical of, only that which is evil."

The Lord warns of "the leaven of the pharisees," indicating doctrine added to the pure teaching of the Word of God.

In this last parable of judgment, the Lord is warning of the kingdom of heaven (Israel) being permeated with extraneous, burdensome, and false doctrine. Elsewhere he calls this "the traditions of men."

Most pointedly, he condemns the "traditions of men" which "make the word of God of none effect." This has been true of every age. We see this today in the present age.

Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
-Col 2:20-23

In the coming age (as in this age), the purity of the word of God will have become so polluted and diluted by the traditions and ordinances of men, it will be pervasive. This parable sets up the next. Remember the structure of the chapter:

A Sower
- B Wheat and tares
-- C Mustard Seed
--- D LEAVEN
--- D TREASURE
-- C Pearl
- B Drag Net
A The Scribe

This parable, given as judgment to the multitude, will be balanced by the parable of the hidden treasure given within the house. We end this section reminding us:

All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”
-Matt 13:34-35

He then enters the house to give explanation and to teach the final four parables:

"Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went INTO THE HOUSE. And His disciples came to Him, saying, 'Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.'”
-Matt 13:36

To the multitudes by the sea, Israel is a confusing mass of religious tradition, but the Lord sees a hidden treasure which we shall see in the next and corresponding Parable of the Hidden Treasure. The Lord always has his remnant, even if man cannot see it.




Sunday, October 22, 2017

Parable of the Mustard Seed

We now come to the third kingdom parable of Matthew 13; the Parable of the Mustard Seed. We are still outside the house. We continue to have Israel's promises in sight.

The smallest of all agricultural seeds is planted in the field and grows into an unnatural, enormous tree; birds come and nest in it.

To better understand all the parables (the four outside the house and the four within) we must see the structure.

A Sower
- B Wheat and tares
-- C MUSTARD SEED
--- D Leaven
--- D Treasure
-- C PEARL
- B Drag Net
A The Scribe

Israel was not the smallest of all the nations and this is the state in which God chose to use them.

"The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples."
-Deut 7:7

The plan for Israel was, and is, that she will be a kingdom of priests for the nations (Ex 19; Zech 8; 1 Peter; etc.). True Israel (the Israel of God), believing Israel, will be small. But she grew into an unnatural tree. Birds represent the evil which came to live comfortable among her.

Israel was scattered throughout the world, like a tree spreading its branches. But the plan was always for her to function in the promised land. As we noted in the previous parable, there is a confusion in our day as to whom is true child of Jacob and who is not.

Daniel 4 should be read. There we see Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the tree. We see his kingdom growing and becoming the habitation of the fowls of the air. It is cut down. Israel was taken into that kingdom. Daniel is God's prophetic vision for Israel. Jews were scattered among the nations, but she will return to her land just as she returned from Babylon. But not all the children of Israel returned. Some remained in Babylon and many others never returned from the previous dispersion into Assyria.

Out of all the nations, God will bring home the children of Israel. Only He know the true from the false.

This is not as easy to see in our day as we see an Israel in the Middle East. We may think Israel has been again confined to the land. However, there are still millions of Jews (open and hidden) scattered among the nations. I believe 1947-48 was the beginning of a prophetic fulfillment, but the fulfillment itself.

I believe the Lord is creating the conditions wherein the clock will once again begin on Israel as the promises of the Acts age will again be "at hand." True Israel will be separated from the "synagogue of Satan," "those who say they are Jews and are not." (Revelation 2-3)

Paranthetically, I would warn any who believe God replaced Israel with the "church." God's promises are yes and amen. He will fulfill The New Covenant with Israel.

Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure,’“...
Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted,
Who are far from righteousness:
I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off;
My salvation shall not linger.
And I will place salvation in Zion,
For Israel My glory.
-Isaiah 46:10, 12-13

We will see in the Parable of the Peal, which is the Lord's corresponding parable, given inside the house, God's perfecting of true Israel and how much he values her in her suffering.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

We now move to The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. We note again that this parable was given to the multitudes, outside the house, as a judgment for unbelief, as prophesied in the Psalms (v.34).

When the Lord pulls his disciples aside to explain the parable, he notes that "the kingdom of heaven" seed represents "the sons of the kingdom." The good seed is scattered throughout the world, but the enemy sows tares ("sons of the wicked one") among the wheat.

In the epistles written in the Acts age by the "apostles to the circumcision," we have Peter writing to "the dispersion" and James writing to "the twelve tribes scattered abroad." As this parable deals with the "end" of the age ("so it will be at the end of this age" v.40), we look to a time ahead for its fulfillment.

As the Lord has begin to gather his people from out of the world and back into the promised land, we see a mix of genuine sons of the kingdom mixed with sons of the wicked one.

There are two legs of this dichotomy. First, there will be a difference between believing Israel (the Israel of God) and unbelieving Israel (who will be cast out of the land because of unbelief, Matt 8). Secondly, we see "those who say they are Jews and are not" (cp. Rev 2:9; 3:9).

In the Revelation (future, for Israel in the Tribulation, Day of the Lord, the Lord's Day), those who say they are Jews and are not are said to be of "the synagogue of the Adversary," or "the synagogue of the wicked one." Here we see the parallel to the tares.

  • End of the age
  • Context of the Kingdom
  • In the land
  • Hard to distinguish from the true
  • Say they are Jews and are not

During the Acts age, we regularly see the disciples expecting bad times and the coming of the Lord just around the corner. That plan was put on hold at the end of the Acts as the "present age" was revealed by Paul (Eph 3). But when this age ends, the clock will again resume upon Israel.

As just one comparative, in 1 Cor 7, Paul instructs widows to not marry as persecution and the prophetic events of the end were "at hand." However, in 1 Timothy, Paul instructs young widows to marry.

***But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am [unmarried] (1 Cor 7) 

***Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry (1 Tim 5)

I believe we are seeing the prophetic scenario being set up in our generation. Jews are flocking back to the land of Israel, yet there is no real way for any to know who is a true son of the kingdom and who is not. That is not for us to decide.

"The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

[And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the SONS OF THE KINGDOM will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” - Matt 8]

The temporal application is to understand that since the beginning, there are have always been the sons of the wicked one sewn among the sons of God. In the present age, we live in grace in light of the finished work of the Savior.

We have no land. For those who understand this age, our blessings are in the "far above the heavens" where Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians). Other believers are invited guests to the wedding feast in the future kingdom. In either case, these tremendous blessings are offered without cost, by simple faith in the death and resurrection of the Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!

=

Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”-Rom 10:11-13 

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.-John 5:24


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Parable of the Sower (Matt 13)

After laying some groundwork, we can finally move on to the first parable in Matt 13:1-23: The Parable of the Sower.

First we note that he goes out of the house and sat by the sea. There he addresses the multitudes. This is a judgment of Israel's unbelief from Matthew 12 (covered previously). In the Sermon on the Mount, he withdraws from the multitudes and speaks only to his disciples. he will speak to both groups in parables, but he will help his disciples to understand.


We know the seed is the word of God from later in the chapter. Specifically, "the word of the kingdom" (v.19) here. This is for Israel.

We see four sowings. There is a surface meaning which can apply in any age. There will always be those who reject scripture, those who accept gladly, but shrink away because of persecution or love of the world; and some who are radically changed.But here the meaning is deeper.

As we noted, the gospel of the kingdom is for Israel alone. In this parable we see the great prophetic sewings of the gospel of the kingdom offer to Israel (the land):

  1. John the Baptist: Israel unaffected. Birds representing the evil one. We will see this picture in later parables.
  2. The Lord Jesus: we see great swelling crowds cheering the Lord. But their faith is short-lived. Within days of hailing Him as the King of Israel, they are calling for his crucifixion.
  3. The Apostles in the Acts: the 12 "went to Jews only" and ministered to the circumcision. They wrote epistles to the Jewish dispersion. But while there was a great move of faith in the early days, when pressure and persecution came, many returned to the slavery of the law. We also see the future persecution during the tribulation in Israel. Many considered the message, but rejected it in the end.
[The present age, hidden from the prophets, wherein Jew and Greek believers are in One Body, is not seen in the parables.]  
       4. Finally, when Israel sees her king, whom she has pierced, they weep for the                       ultimate son of Abraham.

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn..."
-Zech 12:10




Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Intro to Parables in Matthew

Why Use Parables?


Time to dip our toes into the parables in Matthew. Before we get to the text, a few things need to be considered.

First, we must understand that parables were not given as a blessing, but as a judgment. They are not children's fare, but only for those willing to do the hard work of study.

“Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given... Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
-Matt 13:10-11,14

In Matthew 12, the leaders of Israel (to whom the Lord was sent) exposed their disdain for his message of the kingdom. The Lord condemns their rejection of his wisdom:

The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.
-Matt 12:42

The Lord and his disciples had been preaching the gospel of the kingdom (Matt 4:23; 9:35). This gospel was for ISRAEL ALONE (Matt 10). Note, the Lord revealed nothing about his death and resurrection until Matthew 16:21 (and they wouldn't believe him).

So, the parables of Matthew must be considered in this context. The Lord's ministry here is to Israel and the kingdom he speaks of reflects the "gospel of the kingdom" to Israel and Judah.


The Gospel of the Kingdom


The reference to "the gospel of the kingdom" in Matthew 24 teaches us that the age spoken of there (in response to questions from his disciples) are also for Israel. As we've seen in previous thoughts, the Lord was sent to Israel, Peter and Paul spoke of Israel's kingdom promises in the Acts, and Paul writes the the Lord came "to confirm the promises made to the fathers." (Rom 15:8)

We see the gospel of the kingdom of the kingdom being preached in that coming day "as a witness to all the nations" (v.14). The time frame, "and then the end will come."

"Then" should be understood as "at that time." This is very helpful as we read Matthew.

Looking back at John for a second, in the Lord's prayer for his disciples, he speaks plainly (not in difficult parables).

See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! (Greek: paroimía; Strong, "specifically an enigmatical or fictitious illustration: - parable, proverb").
-John 16:29

Parables are used to (a) hide things from those who have closed ears and (b) reveal things to those who do the work of seeking with a pure heart. Parables have a surface meaning and application and a deeper, often prophetic, message.

Final thought: We no more preach the "gospel of the kingdom" from Matthew than we preach the "everlasting gospel" of Rev 14. In this age, we speak plainly of the "sacred secret gospel" of Ephesians. As we look at the parables in Matthew we need to grasp this concept. Without the context, we can be deceived. I've noticed that most false schisms and cults make a great deal of the parables. A coincidence? I think not.