The Hidden Treasure, the Pearl of Great Price, the Net, the Householder
Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like treasure hidden in the field, which a man finding, he hides, and from the joy of it goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like a man, a merchant, seeking goodly pearls; who, finding one very precious pearl, went away, and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like a seine2 cast into the sea, and gathering of every kind; which, when it was full, they brought it up to the shore, and sitting down, collected the good into vessels, and cast out the bad. So shall it be in the consummation of the age; the angels shall come forth, and shall separate the wicked from the midst of the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Jesus says to them, Have you understood all these things? They say to Him, Yes, Lord. And He says to them, On account of this, every scribe instructed for the kingdom of the heavens is like a man, and a householder, who puts forth out of his treasure things new and old.
AC 5374. The signification of “buying” is to procure for oneself, thus to appropriate [or make it one’s own]. Procuring and appropriating spiritually take place by means of good and truth.... [as in] Matt. 13:44–46.
AE 1044.3. “Pearls” signify the knowledges of good and truth.... “The kingdom of the heavens” means both heaven and the church. The “merchant” means those who acquire for themselves the goods and truths through which heaven and the church come. “Pearls” signify the knowledges of good and truth, for these are the truths of the natural man. “The one precious pearl” means the knowledge respecting the Lord and His Divine. “Going away, he sold all that he had and bought it” signifies to reject what is one’s own [proprium] to receive life from the Lord.
Casting a net
AE 513.17. The separation of the good and the evil is here likened to “a net cast into the sea bringing together every kind of fish,” for the reason that “fishes” signify natural men in respect to knowledges and cognitions, and in “the consummation of the age,” or at the time of the Last Judgment, such are separated from one another. For there are good natural men and bad natural men, and the separation of these in the spiritual world has the appearance of a net or drag-net cast into the sea, bringing together the fish, and drawing them to the shore, and this appearance is also from correspondence. This is why the Lord likens the kingdom of the heavens to “a net bringing together the fish.” That the separation of the good from the evil presents this appearance it has been granted me to see.
The furnace of fire
AE 540.2. Evidently here (13:41, 42, 49, 50) “a furnace (caminus seu fornax) of fire” means the hells. “The consummation of the age” is the last time of the church, when judgment takes place. That the evil must then be separated from the good and be cast into hell is signified by “the angels shall gather all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity,” and “they shall sever the wicked from the midst of the righteous, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire.”
Hell is called “the furnace of fire,” because it appears to be on fire from the loves of self and of the world. That “hell fire” signifies torment from these loves may be seen in the work Heaven and Hell (n. 566–575).
Gnashing of teeth
AE 566.18. “Gnashing of teeth” in the hells means continual disputation and combat of falsities with each other and against truths, and thus of those who are in falsities, joined with contempt for others, enmity, jeering, derision, blaspheming; and these also burst forth into attempts to tear each other in pieces, for everyone fights for his own falsity from love of self, of learning, and of fame. These disputations and contests are heard outside of these hells as gnashings of teeth, and are also turned into gnashings of teeth when truths flow in there out of heaven.
2 a net; not the common word for “net” in the New Testament
Questions and Comments
- The parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price in the literal sense seem to be about how what we buy shows what we value. In the spiritual sense, these parables may help us reflect on how much we value the Kingdom of Heaven.
- What similarities do you see between the parable of the Net and the parable of the Wheat and the Tares, in both the literal and spiritual senses?