top of page

Parables of the Hidden Treasure and Pearl of Great Price: Entrance into the Kingdom of God

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

In Matthew 13 the Lord Jesus Christ gives a number of parables that relate to salvation and eternal life, on entrance into the kingdom of God. One after another is preached, "again" and "again." Somewhere around the middle of these allegories, we find two similar short parables on the said subject harmonizing with the rest of this chapter: the parable of hidden treasure and the parable of the pearl of great price. The two related parables, one depicting land, and one sea, cover the habitation of any and all geographical possibilities in the world.

What is a "parable"? A parable is a story told to illustrate a truth (Nu. 23:7; Eze. 17:2). “Parable” means to lay something alongside another. It means to compare two things. A similitude and metaphor that symbolically creates a fictitious narrative of common life that conveys a moral. The word parable in Greek, parabole, is also translated “comparison (Mk. 4:30) and “figure” (Heb. 9:9) and "proverb" (Lk 4:23). “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto…” as noted also in the text of our article (Matt. 13:24, 35, 44, 45, etc.). Parables reveal deep and mysterious things of God and are meant to be understood by truly saved people only (Matt 13:11-17; Pr 25:14), while purposefully confounding the minds of false professors. God does not arbitrarily blind some and open the eyes of others. Those who do not genuinely receive the love of the truth, though they might confess and appear to (as is the case with the massive amounts of people who profess to be Christian, from evangelicals to protestants to Catholics, in our present world), are blinded and the deep truths are hidden from them (Ezk. 12:2; 2 Cor. 4:4; 2 Th. 2:11-12). Here is Christ's teaching on the value of parables, and how unsaved people relate to them:

"All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. . . . And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:" (Matt. 13:34-35, 11-14).

The chapter of salvic parables, Matt 13, begins with the most important one: the parable of the sower and the seed. Without knowing this parable, you can know no other parable (Mk 4:13). This is what the Lord Jesus declares clearly:

"And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?" (Mk 4:13)

In other words, if you fail to understand this foundational parable, you will not understand any other parable. Why not? Because the parable of the sower and seed is a parable on the doctrine of salvation. It covers the grounds of all people that hear the gospel message. Everyone is included, bearing open the spiritual nature of all people that hear the gospel of Christ being planted in their ears and minds. As humanity responds, the fruit and evidence of life will reflect whether the seed fell on bad ground or good ground, whether the profession of faith was genuine or not. All the ground illustrated by Christ is bad, except for the "good ground." From all the bad ground—the actual unconverted souls who appear to be Christian—will be taken what little they have and given to the ground ground who shall have more abundance (Matt 13:11-12). (To keep reading on this foundational parable, see All People Fit into One of the Four Soils of the Parable of the Sower and Seed — Which One Are You?) As Jesus teaches the necessity for conversion and the dangers of not repenting, he continues on with yet another illustration of entrance into the kingdom of God. The two short parables are given in quick succession, in the same breath you could almost say, as they dovetail in meaning.

The Hidden Treasure in a Field

Matt 13:44,

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field."

What the parable means, and does not mean.

Some interpret this parable as a picture of Christ’s purchase and preservation of Israel. I do not believe this interpretation to be Biblical accurate upon careful study and hermeneutics of the text, rightly dividing the entire Word of God (2 Tim 2:15). Ps 135:4 is used to support this interpretation: "For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure." As is Ex. 19:5, where the LORD God references Israel as "peculiar treasure unto me above all people." Rom. 11:25-26 is given as proof, see "all Israel shall be saved,"so Israel must be the "hidden treasure" and "pearl of great price." No, the allegorized object of the treasure and pearl is what provides the salvation, not the recipient of salvation. The emphasis of both parables is the object of great value. The hidden treasure and the pearl of great price. Though we definitely believe that God has purchased and preserved Israel and all Israel will indeed be saved during the seven year Great Tribulation period, its beyond a stretch to apply it to this parable. In fact, doing so, makes Israel the object of salvation, what lost sinful mankind must place their faith in, and that is blasphemous.

This wrong interpretation claims that this parable pictures Christ buying the field (which is explained as the world in which Israel was and continues to be scattered) with His blood (1 Jn. 2:2 as support), which then turns this seeking man into Jesus (which only makes it more confusing). This parable is not speaking of the field of the world but rather a specific field in the world. No man could ever buy the whole world but Christ, but this is not referring to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the hidden treasure and pearl of great price, without any shadow of doubt.

The major theme of this parable is seeking and finding hidden treasure of great value in a field and then purchasing the field with everything that the man has. Neither Israel or the Jews are hidden nor have they ever been. God knows exactly where they are. As this parable is one of salvation, on entrance into the kingdom of God, the field itself may represent the Holy Land with the Messiah there, but rejected by His people, the Jews, whom He came to save, while the man who discovers the treasure could perhaps mirror the Gentiles, who upon finding the treasure, gladly repents of his sins and surrenders to Jesus Christ, receiving Him as Lord and Saviour. Illustrated by the prodigal in Luke 15 of The Parable of Two Sons Who Hated Their Father (Luke 15), the younger sinful son labelled as the prodigal without any pretence of religion, while those outside of the kingdom, not seeking for the hidden treasure or pearl of great price, illustrative of the elderly religious son, who doesn't see his need.

The deeds of the man dispensing all that he had to secure this great treasure, was designed to show the Jews their need to forsake all (sin, self, stuff, dead religion, false philosophy of works-salvation) as Jesus preached repeatedly throughout the gospels (e.g. "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" Lk 14:33) and repent (Lk 14:25-15:32), and turn from their self-righteous, fatal fanaticism of empty traditions, and the oral law, and from their sin to joyfully trust Him as their Messiah at all costs. This is the true gospel of self-denial and self-abandonment that the Lord Jesus Christ, the 12 apostles, and all prophets have always preached. This they refused to do while the Gentiles received Him gladly (e.g. Lk 15:1-2).

The Master used terminology that the crowds understood. He makes a comparative statement. His kingdom is compared to the precious treasure in a field and is like an ancient business transaction. The original owner of the field (the Holy Land) may point to the nation of Israel. The Jews, for the most part, flatly refused to believe that amid them stood the very Messiah they'd been waiting for, the Son of God, the Saviour of mankind, the greatest of all earth’s treasures, greater than all treasure combined. They did not reject the “kingdom offer,” but rather they rejected Him as their Messiah, Saviour and Lord. With this, He and His new kingdom were hidden from them, as so profoundly explained by the Lord Jesus (Matt. 13:12-15).

"For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." (Matt 13:12-15)

After their final rejection, the Jews became decidedly self-blind and deaf to their Messiah.

Here is further reasoning we know the above analysis to be true, the parable referring to the seeking after salvation, and finding it, following the chronological steps in the new birth: seeking, finding, selling, and buying.

1. Seeking and Finding. The Bible commands the lost to seek the LORD, likening this to searching for hidden treasure.

Is. 55:6,

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:”

Pr. 8:17,

I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”

Am. 5:4,

“For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:”

Seeking for the LORD, for salvation, is specifically described and illustrated as seeking for hidden treasures.

Pr. 2:1-5,

"My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God."

This passage in Proverbs 2 has ONE meaning: the pursuit of salvation, as a man pursues hidden treasures. The context entirely surrounds salvation, and here Solomon answers the antithesis to what had just been stated in Pr 1:20-31, what those in reference in that chapter would not do, which reads:

"Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices." (Pr 1:20-31)

Pr. 1 teaches the necessity of salvation and warns about rejecting the reproof of God the Spirit because of a love for sin, hatred of the knowledge of God and refusing to fear God, while Pr 2 turns the tide to the positive proclamation of conversion for those who seek her as hidden treasures, for its these who will come to "understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God."

Job 28:28 expresses the same idea, in a chapter that is all about seeking the Lord,

"And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."

Is. 33:6 declares,

"the fear of the Lord is his treasure."

To desire salvation means to seek for the Lord Jesus Christ, the hidden treasure, until you find Him, which means to come to a fear of the Lord and understanding of Who He is and our desperate need of salvation.

Ps. 145:17-20 is a good summary of this truth as well, as I remember my own salvation to be.

  • The LORD Almighty is righteous and holy, which is required to be in His presence, and is received through conversion:

"The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works." (v. 17)

  • The LORD hears all who will call upon Him in truth, referring to salvation:

"The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth." (v. 18)

  • The LORD will save those who fear Him and cry out to Him in their desperate burdened condition:

"He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them."(v. 19)

  • The LORD preserves eternally, i.e. eternal security, all those that love Him, which is ALL those who have found the hidden treasure of priceless value,

"The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy." (v. 20)

2. Selling. When the treasure is found he sells all, he forsakes all, for it.

“[F]or joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field." (v. 44b).

In buying the field, the man secured the treasure and valued it over everything he had. He forsook everything he had, for this great treasure. The field in this parable cannot mean the geological world, for no man has ever bought that with money, nor would it be possible. This may have reference to a specific section of earth; perhaps the land of Israel into which God sent heaven’s greatest treasure, His beloved Son. Christ became hidden to the nation of Israel because the Jews refused to believe on Him as their Messiah. The unnamed man only purchased the field as a secondary item: his real interest was the great treasure, which became his. The whole emphasis of the parable is not the field but the treasure in it.

Christ was informing His audience of the need for them to be willing to give up (“selleth all that he had”) anything and everything to secure life’s greatest treasure, the saving knowledge of Himself, which gave them entrance into His kingdom. This “giving up” has nothing to do with good works for salvation, but rather points to repentance or turning from sin. It's giving up ones life for Christ, or rather denying and losing ones life for Christ and the gospel's sake, and Jesus taught this throughout the gospels (e.g. Matt 10:32-39; 16:25-26; 19:18-30; Mk 8:34-48; Lk 9:23-26, 57-62; 13:23-30; 14:15-15:32; Jn 12:24-26; etc). This is not referring to something that happens sometime during the Christian life as has been pervertedly taught by most people today, due to the heretical Keswick/ Higher life type of theology influence on people everywhere.

The texts above teach that one who does not become a disciple of Christ (a follower of Christ) will be eternally damned. In Mk 8:34 for instance, denial of self and taking up the cross is a representation of the sinner coming to the point of saving repentance, with a resultant lifestyle of continued following of Christ. In this verse, the Lord addresses “the people . . . with his disciples also.” Jesus is teaching the unconverted multitudes, “the people,” because vv. 34-38 was a call for them to repent and receive salvation, not how lost people can be better Christians. He also addressed His professing disciples because not every disciple is a true believer (e.g. Judas, the “many of His disciples” in Jn 6:60-66, later on Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8, etc). One who was bearing a cross in the land of Israel in Christ’s day was on his way to the shameful and extremely painful death of crucifixion (Jn. 19:17) — repentant faith in Christ involves losing one’s life, that is, turning from our own way of living and sinful ways, from exaltation of self and comfort, to surrender to Christ as unconditional Lord (Mk. 8:35). It’s an exchange of masters (Matt 6:24). The person who wishes to continue to live his own way and life, to “save his life,” will eternally lose “both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28, 39), while one who turns from his own way, denying himself, taking up the cross, and losing his life for the sake of Christ and the gospel, will save his life or soul (same Greek word “pseuche”) by receiving eternal life. “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” (Jn 12:25). To encourage the lost to give up their own way and surrender to Christ’s Lordship for salvation, Christ reminds them it profits them nothing if they gain the whole world, but lose their souls (Mk 8:36-37).

The man in the parable exchanged the world for the surrender of his soul to the Lord of lord and King of kings, the Treasure of all treasure.

He forsook all and then bought it. Mk 8:34-38; Matt 16:24-27; Lk 9:23-26; Jn 12:24-26; etc, reflect this truth absolutely required for true repentance and faith to occur counting the cost, losing our lives, denying self, and forsaking all FOR salvation, while the rich young ruler was unwilling to fulfill this gospel command for conversion (Matt 19; Mk 10; Lk 18). It was his refusal to repent of covetousness, a sin he dearly loved and wouldn't let go of: “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Lk 12:15), a passage located right in the midst of two accounts of covetousness. We forsake all for Christ, losing our lives for Him. “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Lk. 14:33). Though the rich young ruler wouldn't, the rich publican Zachaeus would (Lk. 19:1-10), as would the Pharisee of Pharisees, Saul of Tarsus (Phil. 3:3-9).

Is it a wrong interpretation to align "buying" with salvation? No, this is Biblical lingual and analogy. It’s a parable. This is not the same as Simon the sorcerer attempting to literally buy salvation (Ac. 8:13-24).

Pr. 23:23 is referring to salvation,

Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.”

Is 55:1-7 is referring to salvation,

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. . . . Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." (Is 55:1-3, 6-7)

The pompous and proud but mostly unsaved Christianity of our day will not forsake all for salvation. Rev 3:17-18 addresses their nauseating condition, the message that todays churches need to hear with their unconverted pew warmers and false teachers behind the podium:

"Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."

3. Buying. Upon reception and eternally thereafter, how much greater is the gift of salvation than all the treasures of gold and silver in the world!

When the man finds the treasure, he forsakes all with joy. And so it is with salvation.

Salvation is receiving Jesus Christ and your life becomes hidden with Christ in God, and in Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, which are immeasurably greater than any tangible jewels of the world.

In [Jesus Christ] are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. . . . For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (Col. 2:3; 3:3-4).
How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!” (Pr. 16:16).

The treasures that Christ fills us with leads to never hungering and thirsting again.

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (Jn. 6:35).

The Holy Spirit gives true believers understanding and insight on the treasures of eternity.

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." (1 Cor 2:9-12)

The treasures of Christ are eternally durable and greater than all the gold and silver of the world. In Pr 8 the Lord Jesus Christ declares this profound and necessary truth:

"I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea,durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures." (Pr 8:17-21)

What could possibly ever be even compared to the most magnificent, life-giving, eternal and un-loseable gift of salvation?

4. What about the man hiding the treasure, was this wrong?

He hideth” the treasure. Some commentators hold that the actions of this man (in the earthly application) were dishonest. This is not true. What the man did was in strict accord with ancient business practices, but also business practices in any generation. In Jewish customs, if a treasure was found in unmarked public land, he could claim it for his own. If it were marked, he could purchase the land, and the treasure was automatically his. This was not considered fraudulent business practice but an accepted custom. It should continue to be the custom of our day, as there is absolutely nothing wrong with this method. Regardless, in this parable, the Lord Jesus was not vindicating the conduct of the purchaser. He was stating the way in which men worked in those days to secure wealth, and from that drew His lesson.

Again, in buying the field, he secured the treasure. The field in this parable cannot mean the geological world, for no man has ever bought that with money. This may have reference to a specific section of earth; perhaps the land of Israel into which God sent heaven’s greatest treasure, His beloved Son. Christ became hidden to the nation of Israel because the Jews refused to believe on Him as their Messiah. And then He providentially blinded their eyes, to hide Him even further from their wilfully deceived minds (Rom 11:7-10).

With this interpretation, the right and Biblical one based upon rightly divided hermeneutics, there is zero implication that salvation is by works, but rather how salvation does work.

The Pearl of Great Price

Matt 13:45-46,

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: [46] Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it."

This parable is akin to the last one, and meant to go together. In fact its identical, with the only difference being the geographical location, as this one might’ve taken place at sea. In both we see the chronological steps in the new birth. Seeking, finding, selling, buying.

1. The picture of the pearl itself reveals this interpretation of Christ teaching entrance into the kingdom of God to be true.

Consider the sea pearl. It is formed by a wound caused in the body of the oyster by a foreign particle, a wonderful depiction of Christ being wounded for each sinner of the world (Eph. 5:25; Is. 53:5).

The pearl is valuable, reminding us that the purchase of each believer required the precious blood of Christ,

"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:" (1 Pet 1:18-19)

For hundreds of years men have tried to simulate a true cultured pearl. Many good imitations have been produced and multitudes have been fooled. But experts can now detect the real thing from a counterfeit through the use of X-rays, electro-magnets and other means. They can examine the "heart" of the pearl. Salvation indeed is a heart matter (not merely head). God knows every heart. Rom. 10:9-10 tells that he who repentantly believes in his heart and receives Jesus Christ as Lord, shall be saved.

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Rom 10:9-10)

Interestingly, the 12 gates in heaven are made each of one pearl (wow!):

"And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass." (Rev. 21:21).

2. Seeking. The pearl is sought after, just like salvation and the Lord must be sought after.

On top of the passages already shared under the parable of the hidden treasure, here are some more.

Job 28:12-23, 28 is extremely fitting, seeking for the Lord, for salvation and then contrasting it with the material treasures of this world:

"But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me. It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold. Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears. God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. . . . And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil isunderstanding."

Pr. 2:4-6,

"If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding."

3. Finding and Selling. The pearl of great price bought by selling everything one owns, is a picture of the value of salvation.

Pr. 3:13-18,

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.

Pr 8:10-11,

"Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it." (Pr 8:10-11)

4. The “one pearl of great price” represents Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the One and only way, truth and life into the Father’s kingdom (Jn 14:6).

In the Lord Jesus Christ alone “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3), and “the unsearchable riches of Christ” whom we preach (Eph 3:8).

1 Jn. 5:11-12,

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

5. Buying. Salvation requires forsaking all, selling all, for the one pearl of great price.

In all three accounts in the gospels where we find the story of the rich young ruler, we find the following passages that tell us what is required for salvation, in the dialogue between the apostles and the Lord Jesus Christ, with the indication that this is exactly what the apostles had done to be converted (Matt 19:25-30; Mk 10:26-30; Lk 18:26-30):

"When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first." (Matt 19:25-30)

6. After our conversion, do we still value the pearl of great price as great price, or have we left our first love, as the Ephesian believers had (Rev 2)?

2 Cor 5:11-15,

"Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it isto God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again."

Could we say alongside Paul what he wrote in Gal. 6:14?

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.


This is the true and Biblical meaning of these parables. There is absolutely no other meaning. Attempting to force this passage into Israel being the hidden treasure and pearl of great price, damages both Scripture and doctrine, and is contradictory to the rest of Scripture. Thus faulty hermeneutics, which in this case also adversely effects the gospel.

Nor is the Lord Jesus teaching that the parables resemble an entrance into a higher spiritual existence.

It is those who come with a false anemic gospel of easy believism and anti-Lordship that turn texts such as Matt 10:32-39; 16:25-26; 19:18-30; Mk 8:34-48; Lk 9:23-26, 57-62; 13:23-30; 14:15-15:32; Jn 12:24-26 into discipleship passages to preserve the idea that no one gives up anything to be saved, since it doesn’t cost anything to be saved, just like they do with these two parables. (Hint: You’re actually giving up nothing to be saved, because your life is altogether vanity until you’re saved. Are Lordship advocates saying there is something more to you than either nothing or loss before your salvation?) To them, a potential convert doesn’t need to lose his life, deny himself, or any of that to be saved. He only denies himself and loses his life to be dedicated, to reach a higher plane of spiritual existence after his salvation. How does he get “dedicated”? This is where revivalist second-blessing teaching comes in. He’s got to sacrifice, really mean it, suffer for it, fast for it, or let go and let God.

The easy-believist / anti-Lordship proponents must turn the pearl of great price into dedication, greater dedication, or discipleship. Since the man is trading something in, all that he had, for the pearl, the pearl can’t be salvation. Trading everything in would mean that salvation isn’t free, that it costs us something. When Paul traded everything in, according to Phil 3, he said it was dung and loss that he traded for gain. He traded in his false religion and sin for knowing Jesus and the power of His resurrection.

As we have covered with the parables of entrance into heaven by Jesus in Matt 13, a man trades in everything to buy a field, which is the kingdom. He trades everything for the kingdom. Then a man trades in everything for a pearl of great price, which again is the kingdom. This is the same teaching as “no man can serve two Masters.” (Matt 6:24). You have to choose your Master, with the choosing of a love for knowledge of Him and fear of Him (pr 1:20-32; 2:1-5). When you know the value of the kingdom, you would trade whatever is necessary to get it. In Matt 10:32-39; 16:25-26; 19:18-30; Mk 8:34-48; Lk 9:23-26, 57-62; 13:23-30; 14:15-15:32; Jn 12:24-26, that is to trade your self, your soul, your life.

Salvation is free. It is free, but it costs, as Jesus Himself taught, denying yourself, taking up your cross, and following Him. As He also taught through Isaiah in Is 55. Since you don’t have anything spiritually to pay, because of your spiritual poverty (Matt 5:3), you can’t pay for it with money or price (Is 55:1-3). When we give up our all, when we sell all that we have for the pearl of great price or that treasure in the field, we are actually giving up nothing for everything. It does cost us something though, which is why Jesus said, count the cost.

Jesus taught these things repeatedly, so it definitely doesn’t contradict salvation by grace alone through faith alone.

To have life, we must lose our life. In other words, we can’t hang on to our sinful life, if we are to have God’s eternal life. At salvation, God restores our soul, converts our soul. He does that because He has our soul. We offer by faith our soul, our life to God. He converts it, restores it. He won’t do that if we keep our soul for ourselves. That is the rebellion that runs contrary to repentance. This is the eternal trade that occurs the moment of justification. God takes our life and we get His. We become partakers of the Divine nature. In the easy-believist anti-Lordship false gospel, we offer God our mere lipservice or acknowledge certain salvation facts and for that we receive eternal salvation. We get the pearl of great price and God gets an IOU. This perverts the true gospel (Gal 1:6-9).

The reason unbelievers won’t listen to the true gospel being presented isn’t because they lack attraction. The gospel is attractive. It is the pearl of great price. If sinners don’t want to trade their earthly treasures for it, then offering an earthly treasure as an incentive isn’t right. Jesus answered why unbelievers don’t get the gospel in Lk 13:24. They won’t strive to enter through the narrow gate. They won’t agonize (the Greek word for “strive” is agonizomai, which you can guess what words derives from this). Jesus didn’t try to make the gospel more attractive or attract people to it, however you want to say it. He just preached it.

In many various ways, Jesus preached to trade this life for an eternal one. If you hang on to this life, he said you will lose everything in the end. It would be better to give up your sight in one eye than to end up with both eyes but in eternal hell fire, Jesus says in Mk 9. Rather than offend one of these little ones, which is to cause one of them to never be eternally saved, it would be better to tie a giant millstone around your neck and throw yourself into the depths of the sea.

In describing the trade, the Apostle Paul said that he had to count as dung the best of everything he did, that he might win Christ (Phil 3:8). He had been putting his thumb on the scale of this life and giving himself a deceitful weight. This trade was real. It wasn't Paul fooling himself into thinking his life before was dung. It was right to count it as dung, especially for what he calls "the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:14).

Have you counted your life as dung and sought after His beauty and majesty by seeking for and finding the hidden treasure of priceless value, and the pearl of great price?


bottom of page