Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 8: Hidden Treasure
Based on Matt. 13:44
In Christ's day it was not uncommon to discover in neglected land
old coins and ornaments of gold and silver.
"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 the field."
In ancient times it was customary for men to hide their
treasures in the earth. Thefts and robberies were frequent.
And whenever there was a change in the ruling power,
those who had large possessions were liable to be put
under heavy tribute. Moreover the country was in constant
danger of invasion by marauding armies. As a
consequence, the rich endeavored to preserve their wealth by
concealing it, and the earth was looked upon as a safe
hiding place. But often the place of concealment was
forgotten; death might claim the owner, imprisonment or
exile might separate him from his treasure, and the wealth
he had taken such pains to preserve was left for the fortunate
finder. In Christ's day it was not uncommon to
discover in neglected land old coins and ornaments of
gold and silver.
A man hires land to cultivate, and as the oxen plow the
soil, buried treasure is unearthed. As the man discovers [p. 104] this treasure, he sees that a fortune is within his reach.
Restoring the gold to its hiding place, he returns to his
home and sells all that he has, in order to purchase the
field containing the treasure. His family and his neighbors
think that he is acting like a madman. Looking on the
field, they see no value in the neglected soil. But the man
knows what he is doing; and when he has a title to the
field, he searches every part of it to find the treasure that
he has secured.
This parable illustrates the value of the heavenly treasure,
and the effort that should be made to secure it. The
finder of the treasure in the field was ready to part with all
that he had, ready to put forth untiring labor, in order
to secure the hidden riches. So the finder of heavenly
treasure will count no labor too great and no sacrifice too
dear, in order to gain the treasures of truth.
In the parable the field containing the treasure represents
the Holy Scriptures. And the gospel is the treasure.
The earth itself is not so interlaced with golden veins and
filled with precious things as is the word of God.
The treasures of the gospel are said to be hidden. By
those who are wise in their own estimation, who are puffed
up by the teaching of vain philosophy, the beauty and
power and mystery of the plan of redemption are not
perceived. Many have eyes, but they see not; they have
ears, but they hear not; they have intellect, but they discern
not the hidden treasure.
A man might pass over the place where treasure had
been concealed. In dire necessity he might sit down to
rest at the foot of a tree, not knowing of the riches hidden [p. 105] at its roots. So it was with the Jews. As a golden
treasure, truth had been intrusted to the Hebrew people.
The Jewish economy, bearing the signature of Heaven, had
been instituted by Christ Himself. In types and symbols
the great truths of redemption were veiled. Yet when
Christ came, the Jews did not recognize Him to whom all
these symbols pointed. They had the word of God in
their hands; but the traditions which had been handed
down from generation to generation, and the human interpretation
of the Scriptures, hid from them the truth as it is
in Jesus. The spiritual import of the sacred writings was
lost. The treasure house of all knowledge was open to
them, but they knew it not.
God does not conceal His truth from men. By their
own course of action they make it obscure to themselves.
Christ gave the Jewish people abundant evidence that
He was the Messiah; but His teaching called for a
decided change in their lives. They saw that if they
received Christ, they must give up their cherished maxims
and traditions, their selfish, ungodly practices. It required
a sacrifice to receive changeless, eternal truth. Therefore
they would not admit the most conclusive evidence that God
could give to establish faith in Christ. They professed to
believe the Old Testament Scriptures, yet they refused to
accept the testimony contained therein concerning Christ's
life and character. They were afraid of being convinced
lest they should be converted and be compelled to give up
their preconceived opinions. The treasure of the gospel,
the Way, the Truth, and the Life, was among them, but
they rejected the greatest gift that Heaven could bestow.
"Among the chief rulers also many believed on Him,"
we read; "but because of the Pharisees they did not confess [p. 106] Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue." John
12:42. They were convinced; they believed Jesus to be
the Son of God; but it was not in harmony with their
ambitious desires to confess Him. They had not the faith
that would have secured for them the heavenly treasure.
They were seeking worldly treasure.
And today men are eagerly seeking for earthly treasure.
Their minds are filled with selfish, ambitious thoughts. For
the sake of gaining worldly riches, honor, or power, they
place the maxims, traditions, and requirements of men
above the requirements of God. From them the treasures
of His word are hidden.
"The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit
of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he
know them, because they are spiritually discerned," 1 Cor.
"If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in
whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of
them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious
gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine
unto them." 2 Cor. 4:3, 4.
Value of the Treasure
The Saviour saw that men were absorbed in getting
gain, and were losing sight of eternal realities. He undertook
to correct this evil. He sought to break the infatuating
spell that was paralyzing the soul. Lifting up His voice
He cried, "What is a man profited, if he shall gain the
whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man
give in exchange for his soul?" Matt. 16:26. He presents
before fallen humanity the nobler world they have lost sight
of, that they may behold eternal realities. He takes them
to the threshold of the Infinite, flushed with the indescribable
glory of God, and shows them the treasure there. [p. 107]
The value of this treasure is above gold or silver. The
riches of earth's mines cannot compare with it.
"The depth saith, It is not in me;|
And the sea saith, It is not with me.
It can not be gotten for gold,
Neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
It can not be valued with the gold of Ophir,
With the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
The gold and the crystal can not 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."
This is the treasure that is found in the Scriptures.
The Bible is God's great lesson book, His great educator.
The foundation of all true science is contained in the Bible.
Every branch of knowledge may be found by searching the
word of God. And above all else it contains the science
of all sciences, the science of salvation. The Bible is the
mine of the unsearchable riches of Christ.
The true higher education is gained by studying and
obeying the word of God. But when God's word is laid
aside for books that do not lead to God and the kingdom of
heaven, the education acquired is a perversion of the name.
There are wonderful truths in nature. The earth, the
sea, and the sky are full of truth. They are our teachers.
Nature utters her voice in lessons of heavenly wisdom and
eternal truth. But fallen man will not understand. Sin
has obscured his vision, and he cannot of himself interpret
nature without placing it above God. Correct lessons cannot
impress the minds of those who reject the word of
God. The teaching of nature is by them so perverted
that it turns the mind away from the Creator.
By many, man's wisdom is thought to be higher than
the wisdom of the divine Teacher, and God's lesson book is [p. 108] looked upon as old-fashioned, stale, and uninteresting. But
by those who have been vivified by the Holy Spirit it is not
so regarded. They see the priceless treasure, and would
sell all to buy the field that contains it. Instead of books
containing the suppositions of reputedly great authors, they
choose the word of Him who is the greatest author and
the greatest teacher the world has ever known, who gave
His life for us, that through Him we might have
Results of Neglecting the Treasure
Satan works on human minds, leading them to think
that there is wonderful knowledge to be gained apart from
God. By deceptive reasoning he led Adam and Eve to
doubt God's word, and to supply its place with a theory
that led to disobedience. And his sophistry is doing today
what it did in Eden. Teachers who mingle the sentiments
of infidel authors with the education they are giving,
plant in the minds of youth thoughts that will lead to
distrust of God and transgression of His law. Little do
they know what they are doing. Little do they realize
what will be the result of their work.
A student may go through all the grades of the schools
and colleges of today. He may devote all his powers to
acquiring knowledge. But unless he has a knowledge of
God, unless he obeys the laws that govern his being, he
will destroy himself. By wrong habits he loses his power
of self-appreciation. He loses self-control. He cannot
reason correctly about matters that concern him most
closely. He is reckless and irrational in his treatment of
mind and body. By wrong habits he makes of himself a
wreck. Happiness he cannot have; for his neglect to
cultivate pure, healthful principles places him under the
control of habits that ruin his peace. His years of taxing [p. 109] study are lost, for he has destroyed himself. He has
misused his physical and mental powers, and the temple of
the body is in ruins. He is ruined for this life and for the
life to come. By acquiring earthly knowledge he thought
to gain a treasure, but by laying his Bible aside he
sacrificed a treasure worth everything else.
Search for the Treasure
The word of God is to be our study. We are to
educate our children in the truths found therein. It is an
inexhaustible treasure; but men fail to find this treasure
because they do not search until it is within their possession.
Very many are content with a supposition in regard to the
truth. They are content with a surface work, taking for
granted that they have all that is essential. They take [p. 110] the sayings of others for truth, being too indolent to put
themselves to diligent, earnest labor, represented in the
word as digging for hidden treasure. But man's inventions
are not only unreliable, they are dangerous; for they place
man where God should be. They place the sayings of
men where a "Thus saith the Lord" should be.
Christ is the truth. His words are truth, and they have
a deeper significance than appears on the surface. All the
sayings of Christ have a value beyond their unpretending
appearance. Minds that are quickened by the Holy Spirit will
discern the value of these sayings. They will discern the
precious gems of truth, though these may be buried treasures.
Human theories and speculations will never lead to an
understanding to God's word. Those who suppose that they
understand philosophy think that their explanations are
necessary to unlock the treasures of knowledge and to
prevent heresies from coming into the church. But it is these
explanations that have brought in false theories and
heresies. Men have made desperate efforts to explain what they
thought to be intricate scriptures; but too often their efforts
have only darkened that which they tried to make clear.
The priests and Pharisees thought they were doing
great things as teachers by putting their own interpretation
upon the word of God, but Christ said of them, "Ye know
not the scriptures, neither the power of God." Mark 12:24.
He charged them with the guilt of "teaching for doctrines
the commandments of men." Mark 7:7. Though they were
the teachers of the oracles of God, though they were
supposed to understand His word, they were not doers of the
word. Satan had blinded their eyes that they should not
see its true import.
This is the work of many in our day. Many churches
are guilty of this sin. There is danger, great danger, that
the supposed wise men of today will repeat the experience [p. 111] of the Jewish teachers. They falsely interpret the divine
oracles, and souls are brought into perplexity and shrouded
in darkness because of their misconception of divine truth.
The Scriptures need not be read by the dim light of
tradition or human speculation. As well might we try to
give light to the sun with a torch as to explain the Scriptures
by human tradition or imagination. God's holy word
needs not the torchlight glimmer of earth to make its glories
distinguishable. It is light in itself—the glory of God
revealed, and beside it every other light is dim.
But there must be earnest study and close investigation.
Sharp, clear perceptions of truth will never be the reward
of indolence. No earthy blessing can be obtained without
earnest, patient, persevering effort. If men attain success
in business, they must have a will to do and a faith to
look for results. And we cannot expect to gain spiritual
knowledge without earnest toil. Those who desire to find
the treasures of truth must dig for them as the miner digs
for the treasure hidden in the earth. No halfhearted,
indifferent work will avail. It is essential for old and young,
not only to read God's word, but to study it with
wholehearted earnestness, praying and searching for truth as for
hidden treasure. Those who do this will be rewarded, for
Christ will quicken the understanding.
Our salvation depends on a knowledge of the truth
contained in the Scriptures. It is God's will that we should
possess this. Search, O search the precious Bible with
hungry hearts. Explore God's word as the miner explores
the earth to find veins of gold. Never give up the search
until you have ascertained your relation to God and His
will in regard to you. Christ declared, "Whatsoever ye
shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may
be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in My
name, I will do it." John 14:13, 14. [p. 112]
Men of piety and talent catch views of eternal realities,
but often they fail of understanding, because the things that
are seen eclipse the glory of the unseen. He who would
seek successfully for the hidden treasure must rise to higher
pursuits than the things of this world. His affections and
all His capabilities must be consecrated to the search.
Disobedience has closed the door to a vast amount of
knowledge that might have been gained from the Scriptures.
Understanding means obedience to God's commandments.
The Scriptures are not to be adapted to meet the
prejudice and jealousy of men. They can be understood
only by those who are humbly seeking for a knowledge
of the truth that they may obey it.
Do you ask, What shall I do to be saved? You must
lay your preconceived opinions, your hereditary and
cultivated ideas, at the door of investigation. If you search
the Scriptures to vindicate your own opinions, you will never
reach the truth. Search in order to learn what the Lord
says. If conviction comes as you search, if you see that
your cherished opinions are not in harmony with the truth,
do not misinterpret the truth in order to suit your own
belief, but accept the light given. Open mind and heart
that you may behold wondrous things out of God's word.
Faith in Christ as the world's Redeemer calls for an
acknowledgment of the enlightened intellect controlled by
a heart that can discern and appreciate the heavenly treasure.
This faith is inseparable from repentance and
transformation of character. To have faith means to find and
accept the gospel treasure, with all the obligations which it
"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the
kingdom of God." John 3:3. He may conjecture and
imagine, but without the eye of faith he cannot see the
treasure. Christ gave His life to secure for us this
inestimable [p. 113] treasure; but without regeneration through faith in
His blood, there is no remission of sins, no treasure for
any perishing soul.
We need the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit in order
to discern the truths in God's word. The lovely things of
the natural world are not seen until the sun, dispelling the
darkness, floods them with its light. So the treasures in
the word of God are not appreciated until they are revealed
by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.
The Holy Spirit, sent from heaven by the benevolence
of infinite love, takes the things of God and reveals them
to every soul that has an implicit faith in Christ. By His
power the vital truths upon which the salvation of the soul
depends are impressed upon the mind, and the way of life
is made so plain that none need err therein. As we study
the Scriptures, we should pray for the light of God's Holy
Spirit to shine upon the word, that we may see and
appreciate its treasures.
Reward of Searching
Let none think that there is no more knowledge for them
to gain. The depth of human intellect may be measured;
the works of human authors may be mastered; but the
highest, deepest, broadest flight of the imagination cannot
find out God. There is infinity beyond all that we can
comprehend. We have seen only the glimmering of divine
glory and of the infinitude of knowledge and wisdom; we
have, as it were, been working on the surface of the mine,
when rich golden ore is beneath the surface, to reward the
one who will dig for it. The shaft must be sunk deeper
and yet deeper in the mine, and the result will be glorious
treasure. Through a correct faith, divine knowledge will
become human knowledge. [p. 114]
No one can search the Scriptures in the spirit of Christ
without being rewarded. When man is willing to be
instructed as a little child, when he submits wholly to God,
he will find the truth in His word. If men would be
obedient, they would understand the plan of God's government.
The heavenly world would open its chambers of
grace and glory for exploration. Human beings would be
altogether different from what they now are, for by exploring
the mines of truth men would be ennobled. The mystery
of redemption, the incarnation of Christ, His atoning
sacrifice, would not be as they are now, vague in our minds.
They would be not only better understood, but altogether
more highly appreciated.
Find out more today how to purchase a
copy of this enlightening book about the parables of Christ.
In His prayer to the Father, Christ gave to the world a
lesson which should be graven on mind and soul. "This
is life eternal," He said, "that they might know Thee the
only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent."
John 17:3. This is true education. It imparts power. The
experimental knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom
He has sent, transforms man into the image of God. It
gives to man the mastery of himself, bringing every
impulse and passion of the lower nature under the control of
the higher powers of the mind. It makes its possessor a son
of God and an heir of heaven. It brings him into communion
with the mind of the Infinite, and opens to him the
rich treasures of the universe.
This is the knowledge which is obtained by searching
the word of God. And this treasure may be found by
every soul who will give all to obtain it.
"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." Prov. 2:3-5.
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