Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 8: Hidden Treasure
Based on Matt. 13:44
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"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.
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