Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was a hundred, sixty, and thirty times as much as had been planted!Matthew 13:8
Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”Mark 4:8
Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”Luke 8:8
I suggested you send me your findings if you came across something of interest. Leticia has done just that. So as she took the time to investigate and send it to me, I have taken the time to respond.
I’d like to try to ‘guess’ the mystery of 30-60-100 folds; 100-60-30 folds; and 100 folds. It was so brain-consuming.
Here is what I found:
30 – Lamedh ל (the 12th letter of the Hebrew alphabet) could refer to the word ‘lamad’ signifying both teaching and learning in biblical sense.
Lamed is also an acronym lev mevin daat = a heart that understands wisdom
60 – Samech ס (the 15th letter of the Hebrew alphabet) symbolize the endless cycle of life. The number represents completeness.
100 – Qof ק (the 19th letter of the Hebrew alphabet) signifies perfection.
Matthew 13:23 (NET) –> But as for the seed sown on good soil, this is the person who hears the word and understands.
He bears fruit, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.
Mark 4:20 (LITV) –> And these are those being sown on the good ground, who hear and welcome [receive] the Word and bring forth
fruit, one thirty, and one sixty, and one a hundred fold.
Luke 8:15 (LITV) –> And those in the good grown,these are the ones who in a right [honest] and good heart, hearing the Word, they hold it
and bear fruit in patience [steadfast endurance]
I see 30, 60, 100 represents progress in our spiritual growth. It talks about first hearing and understanding the word (30) with a right and good heart, holding it through many trials or temptations.
(60) with steadfast endurance until we reach the perfection (Heaven) at the end of our life (100). But I could not find why Matthew started it from 100, 60, then 30? And why Luke skipped that part and went straight to produce 100 fold.
I know this is an unfinished answer. That is why I need you to guide me, Ian
Let me add to what Leticia has found. There are those who believe that this string of numbers, especially those of Mark’s which ascend represent the Hebrew numeric system symbolized by the letters of the Hebrew alphabet which are used also as numbers. Hebrew is an alpha-numeric language in which the letters carry letter value as well as numeric or mathematical value. In this case the numeric value listed, namely 30, 60 and 100 are represented by the Hebrew letters Lamedh ל , Samech ס and Qof ק. Each Hebrew letter has a gematria or a number value. Hebrew numbers are represent by the corresponding letters of Hebrew alphabet. The Gematria or number value of Lamedh is 30, Samech is 60 and Qoph is 100.
These letters also have symbolic quality as well as seen below:
Lamedh was outlined well by Leticia above.
Samekh has the meaning to “lean upon”, “uphold” or “support”. It also has a connection with laying hands on the head of a sacrificial victim. Samekh is also supposed to represent the closed circle, the endless ever-ascending spiral of God’s glory in the universe. God’s omnipresence is our support and sustaining power.
Qoph is said to symbolize perfection by some Kabalistic Jews. I think the idea comes more from the numeric value of 100 than anything inheritant in the word Qoph itself.
Hence there is a progression found in a heart that understands wisdom which is upheld and supported by God’s omnipresence which ultimately leads to God’s perfection expressed in us.
Not every expert agrees with the above. There’s lots of debate over the above outline. For instance some feel Samekh has no meaning whatsoever or at best is an unknown quantity. In many ways the symbolic approach outlined above is not well accepted. What matters most is to be able to see a strong connection between this idea and the parable of the soils. I am not convinced it is there. Oh there are some people who see this as being the underlying reasoning behind the parable. There is all sorts of fanciful stuff out there and this is one of the more fanciful approaches. But in reality is this what Jesus meant? Does Jesus connect the Parable of the Soils to symbolism of Lamedh, Samech and Qoph? The simple answer is no.
You can find many different interpretations on this passage. There are many variations on a theme. Many see the numbers purely and simply as being symbolic of spiritual growth. If that is the case why does Matthew arrange the numbers backwards?
There are those who think that the 3 bad soils (path, rocky, thorny) represent the body, soul and spirit and that the good soil talks of body, soul and spirit functioning together. NO !!!! This is unconnected nonsense. Others think the 30 and 60 are rejected earth bound, soulish and that only the 100 are spiritual and therefore saved and go to heaven.
Others see a connection to Mark 4:28 “The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens.” Under this analogy the blade represents 30, then the ear represents 60 and the full corn represents 100. Taken together they depict the changes in the plant as it heads to full maturity. Hence the idea is that 30, 60 and 100 represent the stages of maturity. You can find some who argue at some length that only those who achieve a success rate of 100 (whatever that means) are saved. The rest are doomed. I think it is all fanciful nonsense and these people are missing the point.
I believe the answer is far simpler than all of the above.
A word to Leticia (and to all of you), some times you have to explore all the angles before you arrive at your conclusions. It takes some time going up all the dead end streets until you arrive at the explanation that will fit all the facts. Before we can accept the more fanciful of answers we have to find some indication that this is what Jesus meant. There is none in this case. If not Jesus then there must be an indication that Luke makes the link to this Kabbalistic way of thinking. The Kabbalistic Jews adopted an esoteric way of thinking which was based on a limited specialized way of thinking about something: i.e. secret knowledge. I don’t believe there is any evidence of this related to the “meaning” of the Parable of the Soils. No, the simple answer to Leticia and to those of you digging is to keep looking.
Because Leticia asked for guidance, here is my advice. Stick to the KIS principle. Keep It Simple. Don’t go looking for the weird and wonderful. If the answer can be found in a simple explanation; go with that.
We will look at one more possibility in the next Gem before we close this discussion and investigate “the answer”.
Success is going from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm.Winston Churchill
Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.Napoleon Hill
A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with bricks others have thrown at him.Anon
Don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.Anon