The Holy Things and Pearls Symbolize the Gospel

imagesJesus said do not give to the dogs “what is holy.” What is holy to the Jews? To the Jews, what is holy is the food offering in the Temple. Exodus 29:33-34 reads,

 33 They shall eat those things with which atonement was made at their ordination and consecration, but an outsider shall not eat of them, because they are holy. 34 And if any of the flesh for the ordination or of the bread remain until the morning, then you shall burn the remainder with fire. It shall not be eaten, because it is holy.

In the Temple, there is food for the priests, Aaron and his sons. Yahweh said that if the food remains till morning, Aaron and his sons shall burn it with fire. They shall not eat it, because it is holy. No priest would take the food offered to God on the altar, and throw it to the dogs.

Jesus said do not give to the dogs what is holy. In the context of the Sermon on the Mount, which speaks of the kingdom, what is holy is God’s Word about the kingdom. Then Jesus said do not throw your pearls to the pigs. A pearl is a priceless thing. But what does a pearl symbolize in Matthew? We see the symbol of a pearl in the Parable of the Priceless Pearl in Matthew 13:45-46.

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Jesus says that the kingdom is like the priceless pearl. The merchant wanted to obtain this priceless pearl. He sold everything he owned and bought it. The priceless pearl is a symbol of the kingdom. In the context of Jesus’ teaching, pearls refer to the priceless message of the kingdom, the Gospel of the kingdom. (Constable) Thus, giving what is holy is preaching God’s Word about the kingdom. Throwing pearls is preaching the Gospel of the kingdom.

Let’s reverse it. If throwing pearls is offering the Gospel of the kingdom, then trampling down pearls is rejecting the Gospel. If giving what is holy is sharing God’s Word about the kingdom, then turning and attacking the giver is resisting the kingdom.

This leads us to my third point.

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