Christ speaks of only one parable in this way – “Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?” (Mar 4:13) – The Parable of the Sower, then surely is one of the most important parables to understand among all the parables our Saviour spoke of. Not only is the form of the Kingdom explained in this parable, I believe there is an underlying connection even to the Passover, in it.
Mat 13:3-8 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
Mat 13:18-23 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Even though this parable is known as the parable of the sower, it would be apt to call it the Parable of the four soils.
The Sower = The Son of Man
The Seed = The Word of God/The Word of the Kingdom of God
The Way side = Hears the Word, but has no effect to it
The Stony place = Springs up, but falls away as the Word does not take root
The Thorny place = Unfruitful as they are choked by the cares of this world
The Good Soil = Fruitful in different degrees
Even though only one soil / group of people become fruitful, there are two other kinds of soils that appear to be part of the harvest. The parable immediately following this is about the wheat and the tares, and gives us further details on this parable. There are people who appear to be part of the Kingdom of God, but will eventually are revealed to be just Tares or according to this parable – seed fallen on the stony or thorny ground.
But what do these four groups of Soil/People have to do with the Passover?
Who can join in for the Passover
Exo 12:43-49 And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger (Nekar) eat thereof: But every man’s servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof. A foreigner (Toshav) and an hired servant (Sakeer) shall not eat thereof. In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. And when a stranger (Ger) shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. One law shall be to him that is homeborn (Ezrach), and unto the stranger (Ger) that sojourneth among you.
On Passover, the nation of Israel left Egypt with God’s Salvation on full display. And among this group were 4 types of people as shown below
The Nekar – is a stranger / a person who is unknown by God
The Toshav – is a visitor who comes and goes but has no reason to stay
The Sakeer – is there for some incentive
The Ger – is a person who sojourns or wants to become part of the people even though he/she is not homeborn (Ezrach) the Ger and Ezrach are considered the same with God’s Law governing both of them.
The Connection between the Four Soil Types and the 4 people groups
Just comparing these 4 types of people can shed light on who and what they are ; what their attitudes towards God are and who they are in relation to God’s Kingdom.
Seed by the way side : Those who hear the word of the kingdom, does not understand and the wicked one catches it away from the heart. They can be equaled to the Nekar / Stranger a person who is unknown by God. A good Example would be Pharaoh who had no need for the message of the Kingdom. The Word did not take root in his heart and all of Egypt who did not join Israel.
Seed in the stony places : Those who hear the word of the kingdom, receives it with joy, has no root, endures for a while but falls away because of tribulation and persecution. They can be equaled to the Toshav / Lodger who is a visitor who comes and goes but has no reason to stay. For Example, people who fell along the way to the Promised Land, because of their troubles such as Korah. They received the Word but had no root as they did not know God or His wishes. People such as Korah rebelled because of the troubles along the way as they rejected Moses.
Seed among the thorns : Those who hear the word of the kingdom, but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and they become unfruitful. They can be equaled to The Sakeer / Hired servant who is there for some incentive. These unlike the Stony soil, endure for longer and appear to be a plant, but has no fruit. These could be equaled to Achan for example. They appear to be entering the promised land but finally is found to be Tares among the Wheat just like the plants among stony soil as the thorns or the cares of the world had more bearing on them than the Word of the Kingdom.
Seed into the good ground : Those who hear the word of the kingdom, understands it, bears fruit and brings forth hundredfold, sixty, thirty. These can be equaled to the The Ger / Sojourner, who is a person who sojourns or wants to become part of the people even though he/she is not homeborn (Ezrach) the Ger and Ezrach are considered the same with God’s Law governing both of them. The Ger and Ezrach are the only ones considered part of the fruitful harvest and are not looked at as separate harvests but one in the same. Whether you were Jew or Gentile the Good Ground was prepared by the Sower and would ultimately be fruitful because of the Seed which was planted. A good Example is seen of these 2 groups that are considered one under God, in Caleb and Joshua – One from Judah and one from Ephraim – the Two Houses of Israel. One may have been dispersed among the Gentiles and one exist still in the Land – but both would be one stick in the Hand of God, when His Kingdom is Established under Prince – The King of David – Our Messiah.
As Christ proclaimed, the secrets of the Kingdom exist inside the Parable of the Sower / Four Soils. The Kingdom has wheat that will be collected into the Barn and Tares that cannot be distinguished from the wheat, which will be burned. So do we see that one soil brings a crop while two other soils appear to be creating a crop but are found out to be tares. The same categories can be applied to the story of the exodus and the participants of the Passover – some appear to have received salvation, but are tares that would be burned. The other part is the Word which fell on the Good Soil – Like Joshua and Caleb will inherit the Promised Kingdom whether Homeborn or Sojourner ; Jew or Gentile.