Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
This parable, known as "The Pearl of Great Price," is one of seven parables known as, "Kingdom Parables." They are: "The Mustard Seed," Matthew 13:31-32; "The Yeast," Matthew 13:33; "The Hidden Treasure," Matthew 13:44; "The Household Treasures," Matthew 13:52; "The Dragnet," Matthew 13:47-50; "The Sprouting Seed," Mark 4:26-29; and "The Pearl of Great Price."
In this article, we will take a closer look at "The Pearl of Great Price" (Matt. 13:45-46).
The Kingdom of Heaven
Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field." What is the kingdom heaven?
The term, "kingdom of heaven," occurs thirty-two times in the New Testament, all in the book of Matthew. It is found thirteen times here in chapter 13. Additionally, the term, "kingdom of God," is found sixty-nine times in the New Testament, five in Matthew.
Paul refers to Jesus Christ as "the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" in 1 Timothy 6:14-15 (See also Rev. 17:14; 19:16). Jesus, then, is the King.
In Matthew 16:18-19, after Peter had made the great confession, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16), Jesus said:
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven...
Notice that Jesus uses the terms, church (v.18), and kingdom of heaven (v. 19), interchangeably. From this point on, the kingdom of God and the church are spoken of in the present tense, the church being established in Acts 2. So the kingdom of heaven is the church, over which Jesus Christ rules as king and head (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Col. 1:18). The kingdom parables might also be referred to as the "church parables."