9. WHY DO YOU SPEAK TO THEM IN PARABLES?
Luke2:29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation 31 which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, 32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.
Peter later wrote
II Peter1:19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
For the Children of Israel, the Old Testament was like a torchlight shinning in a darkened world, a torchlight that pointed the way to Jesus Christ. Then, when Jesus came into the world, it was like the dawning of a new day, as the light of Christ brought revelation to all who would believe and receive Him as their Lord and Savour. But, for those Children of Israel who refused to love the truth that Jesus was the Messiah and that there was salvation in no other name but the name of Jesus Christ, it was as if a thick fog came across their eyes and blinded them to the truth.
Romans11:25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
Blindness, in part, has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. This is the setting I would like you to keep in mind as we turn back to the first of the seven kingdom parables.
Half way through the telling and explaining of the parable of the sower, which represents the first Church age, 30 AD. to 100 AD., the disciples ask Jesus “why do you speak to them in parables?” This question of the disciples and Jesus Christ answer, coming as it were half way through the first Church age, is not there just by chance, it is there because God meant it to be there. Prior to the first Church age, the Children of Israel had the light of the Holy Scriptures: giving to them the equivalent of a torchlight shining into a dark world.
Matthew 13:10And the disciples came and said to Him. “Why do You speak to them in Parables?
11 Jesus answered and said to the them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; 15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears they are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed have closed, Least they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Least they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
Here Jesus is speaking of two different groups of Jews. The first group of Jews was those who loved the truth and therefore had a reasonable ability to see, hear, and understand the truth as revealed to them through the Scriptures. After Jesus Christ death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, the Spirit of Jesus Christ (the light of revelation) came down to dwell within the hearts of all who believed and received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, thus bringing more light of understanding to this group of Jews.
The second group of Jews was those who did not love the truth, and the more they heard and saw of Jesus, the more they closed their eyes and ears to the truth. As God said through the prophet Isaiah, “For the hearts of this people have grown dull, their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed (V 15).” Although many of these Jews followed Jesus around, hoping for a blessing of some kind, they would not accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and when trials and persecutions came they quickly fell away. Without Jesus these people quickly lost even the small ability they had to see, hear and understand the truth (V 12).
When Jesus Christ, the Light of Revelation came into the world, He preached mainly to the Jews, as did the first apostles; even Paul on his missionary trips to the Gentiles made a habit of first preaching to the Jews before preaching to the Gentiles. But most of the Jews rejected Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savour. Thus it was until around 70 AD., many Jews found salvation while only a few Gentiles found salvation.
What are the times of the Gentiles? This is best explained by saying that from about 1870 BC. (approximately the year God renamed Jacob, Israel) until the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD, there was a period of about 2,000 years in which many Jews came to salvation, but during those 2,000 years very few Gentiles came to salvation. Then with the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, begins the Times of the Gentiles, a time in which many Gentiles come to salvation, but a time in which very few Children of Israel come to salvation.
In a time yet to come, these times of the Gentiles will come to an end, and once again many Children of Israel will come to salvation. For it is written in:
Romans 11:25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
This passage by telling us “blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” Not only tells us that there is a day coming in which the eyes of Israel will again be opened to truth, so that they may be saved. It also suggest there is a day coming in which God is going to say, “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” and from now on, no more, or very few Gentiles will be saved.
Let us look at the original prophecy recorded by the prophet Isaiah, as it is translated in the King James Version.
(K.J.V.) Isaiah6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
9 And He said,
“Go, and tell this people: ‘Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes, Least they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.”
Isaiah gives us other looks at this blinding of the Children of Israel. The following is a good example.
(K.J.V.) Isaiah29:9 Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. 10 For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and He has closed the eyes: the prophets and your rulers, and the seers hath He covered. 11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: 12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith I am not learned.
The Lord has poured out upon His people a spirit of drunkenness, and they stagger around as in a deep sleep unaware of what is going on. God has closed the eyes of their prophets, rulers, and their seers, the eyes of those whom have visions, God has covered so that their visions become as a sealed book that no one can read. Why has God done this? It is because although they outwardly praise and honour God, their heart is far from God, and although they fear God, this fear is not based on the precepts (or teaching) of God, but based on precepts taught by men.
Their heart is fat. Fat speaks of wealth. In the natural, if a wealthy man becomes self-indulgent he will put on fat, his heart becomes fat, and his health begins to suffer. If he repents of his self-indulgence and calls on the Lord he will become well, but if he does not repent his fat heart will kill him.
When God says; “Make the heart of this people fat (Isaiah 6:10),” He is speaking of a people who have turned their heart from God and become self-indulgent. Spiritually they have a sick heart, they cannot see, hear or understand, and they are in danger of spiritual death.
A sick heart comes before spiritual blindness.
When God sent His servant Moses to lead His people out of Israel, they continued to doubt and rebel against God and despite seeing many great miracles they would not believe. So God gave them a sick heart that was unable to perceive, see or hear the greatness of God.
Moses speaks to them:
(K.J.V.) Deuteronomy 29:3 The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: 4 Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.
The vision of all has become as the words of a book that has been closed which no one can understand. “For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep.” and “He has closed the eyes: the prophets and your rulers, and the seers hath He covered.”
As we move on into the next two church ages, we will read that while men slept an enemy sowed tares amongst wheat. Meaning, if we do not watch and pray, Satan will sow false doctrine into the church. We also read that because men grew weary, they no longer tested the prophets to see whether they preached truth or lies. When men grow weary and sleep, they close their eyes and ears and the enemy, through false prophets, sows lying doctrines into the church.
Why does God allow this spiritual blindness and deafness to come upon His people? If we read on we will find out.
(K.J.V.) Isaiah29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear towards me is taught by the precept of men:
Verse 13 draws our attention towards two common faults among the children of God.
Firstly: Outwardly, for men to see, they honour God with their mouth and their lips, while in their heart, where God sees, they are far from God. They have sick, fat hearts. They are self indulgent.
Secondly: Their fear towards God is based on the teachings (or precepts) of men, instead of being based on the precepts (or teachings) of God. In other words, they have already closed their eyes and ears to the word of God, and have now chosen to base their fear of God on the false teachings of men. It is a good thing to fear God, but we must make sure our fear is based on God’s written, word and not on the teachings of men.
Because of these two sins God says - - - - -
(K.J.V.) Isaiah29:14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.
In Isaiah 3:1 – 2 we are told that God, in His judgment of Israel, will take away the judge and prophet, the prudent and the elder. While in Isaiah 1:26 we are told after God has thoroughly purged away Israel’s dross and removed their impurities, He will restore their judges as in the days of old, and their counsellors as in the beginning.
In this teaching concerning the blindness of God’s people, God focuses on the principle, that when the hearts of God people become sick and fat, they will first turn their hearts from the teachings and precepts of God to the teachings and precepts of men, and then they shall become spiritually blind; but when they repent and turn back to God, God will thoroughly purge away their dross and remove their impurities, and restore their ability to not only to see and hear in the spiritual realm, but also their ability to understand God’s Word.
To some degree this blindness had already come upon the Jews prior to Jesus Christ first coming, for Jesus quotes Isaiah saying - - - -
Matthew15:7 “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you saying: 8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honour Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
In rejecting the gospel of Jesus Christ, even a greater degree of blindness came upon the Jews. Right to the end of the age, all who reject God’s plan of salvation, both Jew and Gentile shall be blinded by deception.
Paul writes concerning to coming of the lawless one, also known as the Anti-Christ.
II Thessalonians2:9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not love the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Satan will deceive all those who are perishing because they do not love the truth, the truth that there is salvation in no other name but the name of Jesus Christ. Not only does Satan deceive them, God will also send them a strong delusion by blinding their eyes to the truth, that they should believe the lies of Satan and thus perish because they did not love the truth.
- - - - - - - - - - -
When we compare the prophecy given in Isaiah 6:8 - 13 with the history of God’s people, we find this prophecy, like many other prophesies, has already been partly fulfilled many times. It is as if history keeps on repeating itself over and over again; there is nothing new under the sun, but in a time yet to come this prophecy will be fulfilled in full.
For the Jews, even though blindness in part had already come to them before Jesus first coming, when they rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah, even what they could see and understand was taken away from them, so that even greater blindness came upon them. A blindness that will remain upon them until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. Then, once the fullness of the Gentiles has come in to the kingdom of God, this blindness that has come upon the Jews will be lifted.
Let us take another look at the prophecy recorded in Isaiah chapter 6; which was later quoted by Jesus Christ in Matthew chapter 13:14 – 15.
(K.J.V.) Isaiah6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” 9 And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes, Least they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.”
At this point, even though Jesus is only half way through the prophecy He stops quoting from Isaiah. Why? Because at this point there is a breach period in the prophecy of approximately 2,000 years or more.
These breach periods of about 2,000 years or more, coming in the middle of a prophecy or vision, are very common to the writings of both Daniel and Isaiah. Usually the first part of the prophecy starts some time before Jesus Christ earthly ministry and may end hundreds of years before His earthly ministry, but most continue into or shortly beyond His earthly ministry. Then they have an unannounced breach period of 2,000 years or more which is followed by the second part of the prophecy. The second part of all of these prophecies will be fulfilled during the last ten-and-a-half-years leading up to Jesus Christ second coming and beyond into His 1,000 year reign.
But to those who do not have eyes to see, or ears to hear there is no gap period. Also because these events seemingly keep on repeating themselves, it is easy to believe that these things have already happen, or that they are being fulfilled by current events.
We are looking at Isaiah chapter 6, picking up from where the people’s heart has become fat and sick through self-indulgence, then on into the rest of the prophecy.
(K.J.V.) Isaiah6:10 “Make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes, least they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.” 11 Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered: “Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate, 12 and the Lord has removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. 13 But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: As a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.
Verses 12 and 13 paraphrased.
12 And the Lord has removed men far away, and there shall very few people left in the midst of the land. 13 But yet in those who leave the land shall be a tenth, and the tenth shall returned as holy seed, to be consumed. As the substance of the oak is found it stem and roots, when they rooted up by the wind and cast away, the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.
Written by Kenneth Allan Clark and printed and published by
VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL. P.O. BOX 144 WYNNUM QLD 4178 AUSTRALIA.
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Scripture taken from the “Clarks English Translation” © Copyright 2011 by Victorious Christian Ministries International. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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