The new treasure is the fulfilment of the eschatological promises

Barry Smith, Jesus' Twofold Teaching About The Kingdom Of God
"Central to the synoptic gospels is Jesus' proclamation of the Kingdom of God. Jesus' primary mission to the Jewish people was to offer them the possibility of participation in final, or eschatological, salvation, which, for the most part, he expressed by the term"Kingdom of God.” (A synonym for the Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of Heaven, found in the Gospel of Matthew.) Jesus interpreted his exorcisms and healings as manifestations of the Kingdom of God.”

Jesus Parabolic Teaching about the Kingdom of God

A large part of the content of Jesus' teaching relating to the Kingdom of God that has been preserved is in the form of parables, which are metaphors or similes used as means of describing the nature of the Kingdom of God.

1.2.1. Mark 4:26-29 (Parable of the Seed Growing by Itself)

26 And he said," The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, 27 and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a seed sown that grows without the help of human beings ("All by itself the soil produces grain"), and culminates in the harvest. The fact that this parable has no interpretation attached to it has led to some scholarly differences as to its meaning. The emphasis of the parable has been placed upon the one who sows (4:26: “A man sows seed upon the ground"; 4:27: "He sleeps and gets up"; 4:29: "He reaps"), the seed and its growth (4:26: “A man sows seed upon the ground"; 4:27: "The seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how"; 4:28: "The soil produces grain— first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head the sower") and on the the ground and its power to bring forth grain ("All by itself the soil produces grain"). It is probably advisable, however, to allow for more than one emphasis, so that the parable is interpreted as an allegory. Given the otherwise unexpected stress on the seed's growth as independent of all assistance from human beings, Jesus' point seems to be that the Kingdom of God is a historical process that is outside of the control of human beings; in the same way that a plant grows without human assistance," all by itself" (automatê), the Kingdom of God begins"to grow"In history until it reaches its culmination. Probably, the harvest represents final judgment, which will come inevitably, according to God's own timing. Final judgment is coincidental with the Kingdom of God in its completeness, also expressed elsewhere in Jesus' teaching as the paliggenesia, eternal life, the"Age to come"or"that age.”It is also possible that Jesus intended the sower and the harvester to be identified with himself; in this case Jesus as the"sower"Is the mediator of the Kingdom of God, the one through whom God's saving power is introduced into history, but as the"harvester"Is also the one through whom final judgment will be executed.

1.2.2. Mark 4:30-32; (Parable of the Mustard Seed)

Mark 4:30-32
30 And he said," With what can we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

Matt 13:31-32
31 Another parable he put before them, saying," The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain mustard seed which man took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest all seeds but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that birds air come make nests its branches.

Luke 13:18-19
18 He said therefore," What is the Kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

There are two different versions of the Parable of the Mustard Seed, a Markan and non-Markan (see Gospel of Thomas 20, 96). The differences between, however, are negligible with respect the meaning of the parable. Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed, or, more accurately, to what happens to a mustard seed. The mustard plant begins as inconspicuous," the smallest of all seeds," but becomes conspicuous, a large shrub or"tree" (dendron: Matt 13:32; Luke 13:19). The emphasis of the parable is on the contrast between beginning and end. Some scholars believe that the stress is on the final result of the process of growth, which may be true, but this should not detract from the central idea of its growth. Jesus' point is that Kingdom of God is a historical process, beginning inconspicuously but leading to conspicuous results. The birds sitting in the branches of the mature mustard plant serve to illustrate how large the plant has become, so as to accentuate the contrast between the beginning and end. It is often suggested that the depiction of the mustard plant as a"tree," large enough to support birds on its branches, is a metaphor of the Kingdom of God as offering protection to those within it. A tree as metaphorical of a kingdom occurs in Ezek 17:23; 31:16; Dan 4:10-12.

1.2.3. Matt 13:44-46 (Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl)

44"The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45"Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Jesus tells two thematically-related parables to describe what is required of the one who hears about the Kingdom of Heaven. First, he says that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a valuable treasure in a field that must be procured at any cost to the purchaser. (In the ancient world, coins and other non-perishable valuables were often buried underground for safekeeping.) Second, he compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a valuable pearl that is worth more than anything a merchant already possesses and must be procured at any cost to the merchant. The response required of the one who hears about the Kingdom of Heaven is the willingness to procure entry into it at all costs, since it is valuable beyond all description.

1.2.4. Matt 13:51-52 Parable of New and Old Treasures

51"Have you understood all this?”They said to him," Yes.”52 And he said to them," Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the Kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a scribe's adding new treasure to old. The scribe is one who has studied the scriptures and knows what God has done in the past and has promised to do in the future. The old treasure represents the previous stages of salvation history, whereas the new treasure is the fulfilment of the eschatological promises. Jesus' point is that the Kingdom of God, which is the realization of eschatological salvation, stands in continuity with previous stages of salvation history, in no way nullifying them, but being anticipated by them.

Jesus' Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
Professor Barry Smith,
Web (Extracted May 5, 2013)

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