Come to Understanding

They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding,

and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. ó Isaiah 29:24

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense,

and caused them to understand the reading. ó Nehemiah 8:8

November 1, 2010

Volume 9 Number 21

Showing to the Generation to Come

Some may ask us, "Why do you study the Word of God? Havenít people already studied and summarized it? Canít we just read the books they have written about Godís Word to find out what it says?" On the surface, those sound like reasonable questions which would persuade us to abandon the careful and in-depth study of the Word of God in favor of easy-to-understand summaries and commentaries. However, before we come to that conclusion, we need to study the use of parables in the Bible.

A parable is a simple story that, for those who are able to understand it, says much more than it appears to say. Yahshua (Jesus) explained His frequent use of parables to His disciples:

10 And the disciples came, and said to him, Why speak you to them in parables?

11 He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

12 For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has.

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. -Matthew 13

As He continued to explain His use of parables, He quoted the prophet Isaiah where he said that some people would not be able to understand the Word of God. Even though they may hear and see it with their natural senses, their spiritual eyes and ears would be dull. Therefore, they would be unable to understand with their hearts:

14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says, By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive:

15 For this peopleís heart has grown thick, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. -Matthew 13

Paul encountered such people in Corinth. Schooled in ancient Greek, many of the Corinthians were both intelligent and learned. Paul knew that his grasp of earthly knowledge and wisdom was no match for them. Therefore, he focused on that which he knew for sure as he taught the mysteries that were revealed to him by the power of the Spirit of God:

1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring to you the testimony of God.

2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Yahshua the Messiah, and him crucified.

3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of manís wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

6 However we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nothing:

7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. -1 Corinthians 2

It is, Paul explained, the Spirit of God that reveals the things of God:

11 For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God. -1 Corinthians 2

The resurrected Messiah says that it was He that opened the understanding of His disciples so that they could understand the Scriptures:

45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, -Luke 24

He explained that even though "many prophets and righteous men" would have loved to have understood the things that were being revealed to His disciples, they could not see them. Their spiritual eyes and ears had not been opened. Therefore, they were unable to comprehend that which was now being revealed by Yahshua:

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

17 For truly I say to you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them. -Matthew 13

Having given His disciples a background on the purpose of His use of parables, Yahshua told them the parable of the sower of seeds, which represented the Word of God. Even though the sower may send forth the seeds, many of them would not survive to grow and produce fruit (see Matthew 13:18-23).

Then He continued with another parable about a sower. This time, even though the sower effectively sowed wheat seeds, "while men slept," and the people were not alert, the enemy came and sowed tares (weeds) among the wheat. The good wheat field was contaminated with weeds:

24 Another parable put he forth to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man which sowed good seed in his field:

25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. -Matthew 13

After Yahshua sent the crowd of people away, His disciples asked Him to reveal the meaning of this parable to them:

36 Then Yahshua sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came to him, saying, Declare to us the parable of the tares of the field. -Matthew 13

As Yahshua referred to Himself as the "Son of man," he explained that the enemy is the devil. He will place his children in the midst of the "children of the kingdom," which are the children of God. They will continue together until the end of the world:

37 He answered and said to them, He that sows the good seed is the Son of man;

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. -Matthew 13

As Yahshua spoke in parables, He revealed the hidden things of God to the children of God, while simultaneously preventing the children of the devil from comprehending what He was saying:

34 All these things spoke Yahshua to the multitude in parables; and without a parable spoke he not to them:

35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. -Matthew 13

His use of parables fulfilled the prophecy, which says:

1 Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. -Psalms 78

The expression, "incline your ears," literally means to "stretch out" your ears. It means that we need to take an active role in trying to understand what is being said. Even though the words that are spoken have been written and available for thousands of years, they are hidden to our understanding until the ears of the generation to which they are given are opened, as Yahweh reveals them through parables:

2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:

3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.

4 We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of Yahweh, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he has done.

5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:

6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:

7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: -Psalms 78

Even great prophets, such as Daniel, could not understand the meaning of the prophecies that Yahweh had given to them. Those words, Yahweh explained, would be sealed up in the book until the "time of the end:"

4 But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. -Daniel 12

The words of the book cannot be understood until the time when our spiritual eyes and ears are opened:

8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?

9 And he said, Go your way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. -Daniel 12

Our generation is nearer to the "time of the end" than any other generation in history. Is it time to "incline our ears?"

43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who has ears to hear, let him hear. -Matthew 13

 

 

 

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