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Why the Savior Spoke in Parables
Didn't the Messiah use parables to make the message clearer to the common people? That's what most think. But that is not necessarily so.
The Savior often used parables in teaching His disciples. Many parables appear in the Evangels, but none in the Book of Acts, the ministry of the disciples.
Parable is mashal in Hebrew, meaning proverb, similitude, parable, in which ideas are presented in the robes of imagery. A parable might be said to be a very short story with a double meaning.
The Bible Encyclopedia defines a parable as a way of teaching spiritual truths by using a picture or short story. Grammarians explain a parable as a figure of speech, an "extended metaphor."
Parables were not new. Founded in antiquity, they are common in most cultures.
Parables in the Old Testament
The Bible’s first recorded parable in the form of a fable is that of trees choosing for themselves a king, as we read in Judges chapter 9. Jotham used this fable to convince the inhabitants of Shechem of the folly in having elected so vile a man as Abimelech for their king.
Interestingly, Nathan told King David a parable about a ewe lamb in order for David to get a perspective from Yahweh’s viewpoint of his sin with Bathsheba, 2Samuel 12:1-7. David was thus induced to name his own punishment, which Yahweh in His mercy delayed, but later inflicted through David’s family.
Our Savior’s Parables
The Israelites were quite familiar with parables as a method of teaching. The rabbis often resorted to figures of speech in their discourses in the synagogues.
Most of our Savior’s parables were about the coming Kingdom. Through parables He taught about the higher spiritual realm by relating to physical terms with which the people were familiar.
Contrary to what many believe, the Savior often used parables to CONFUSE certain listeners so they would NOT understand. He did not at that time wish to reveal the fullness of His message to everyone, a fact most are unaware of.
The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. 5, p. 150, says, "In the [Yahshua] tradition, however, the interpretation of the parables is much more problematic. This is probably because the parables were often told concerning the Kingdom of [Yahweh] and that explained a symbol by a metaphor. This meant that the first hearers and final writers were themselves forced both to transmit and to interpret the parables at the same time. The presumption is that [Yahshua] intended this effect, namely, that the parables would be both provocative and unforgettable so that the recipient would be forced inevitably to interpret."
Notice Matthew 13. Our Savior Yahshua sat in a ship and spoke many things in parables to the gathered multitude. He spoke of the sower, sowing seed which was devoured by birds. Some seed fell on stony places, some fell among thorns but some landed on good soil.
Apparently the disciples themselves could not fully comprehend what all this meant, for they asked why He had spoken in parables in this instance, verse 10.
In Matthew 6:24-27 He had used parables as illustrations whose meanings were self-evident from the context. Why did He later revert to figures of speech that even His disciples did not understand?
Isaiah Predicted the Use of Parables
answer He gave was similar to that given by Isaiah concerning
Upon hearing a parable about the Kingdom, the people would find it an interesting story, but pointless. They could see no light of celestial truth in His discourses of seed sowers or of rich and poor men.
On the other hand, the disciples had already grasped the fact that this was indeed the promised Messiah and were very attentive to His every word. They were aware that He came to establish His Kingdom on this earth and therefore their powers of spiritual understanding matured.
The disciples developed a clearer picture. In them was fulfilled the proverbial truth, "whosoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance." With the crowds we see the complementary proverb, "whosoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has."
Yahweh will give us more grace and knowledge when we add to what He has given us, 2Peter 1:5-8.
Receptive Attitude Necessary
We can rejoice with the disciples as we read Matthew 13:17, "For verily I say unto 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."
Unless we are receptive to the words of our beloved Savior, and seek Him, we will not perceive even the simplest Bible truth.
Notice that Matthew reveals that Yahshua apparently from that time forward purposely spoke to the multitudes in parables.
Matthew 13:13-15 clearly shows that the Savior deliberately spoke in parables to HIDE the message He was bringing: "Therefore I speak to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 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: for this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they 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.’"
This may astound some, but these are Yahshua’s own words. He was concealing truth from some purposely because of their spiritual dullness! Peter says even the angels desire to look into the truth revealed to us, 1Peter .
Not All to Be Converted Now
Yahshua did not want some people to become converted at that time, neither was it His will to heal them then. In His mercy, our loving Savior has allowed some people to remain in ignorance of basic Bible truth. He is presently revealing deeper Scriptural truth to those who diligently seek truth and study to show themselves approved, 2Timothy .
These people will later be given their opportunity to comprehend the deeper truth you and I can have. If we are in that first resurrection, our rewards will be greater, Revelation 20:6. We will then be helping others learn deeper truth.
Notice James’ summation in Acts 15:14-17:
"Simeon has declared how Elohim at first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, ‘After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: that the residue of men might seek after Yahweh, and all the Gentiles, upon whom My name is called,’ says Yahweh, ‘Who does all these things.’"
Not everyone who hears the truth of the Bible wants to accept it now. When He returns, Yahshua will then build again the tabernacle of David so "that the residue of men might seek after Yahweh."
Presently they do not have the heart to understand and follow the way of Yahweh. They are better off not to learn precious truth if they will not follow it for, according to Hebrews 4:2, Israel was not allowed to enter the promised land of His rest because the Word was not mixed with the needed faith to act. We are given deeper understanding of His word as a test to see if we are willingly obedient in little things before being given more. Neither are we to harden our hearts to His truth, Hebrews 4:7.
Knowledge Demands Responsibility
Once we have put our hand to the plow, we are to continue and not give up just because the going gets difficult, Luke 9:62. Note this warning in Hebrews 6:4-6:
"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of Elohim and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they impale to themselves the Son of Yahweh afresh, and put Him to an open shame."
In His wisdom, Yahweh is calling out a people now who He knows have the perseverance and stamina, who once having taken hold of His Word will never let go.
Yahshua said, "No man can come to Me except the Father which has sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day," John .
Not everyone is called today. There is a group of people who will be faithful to the end. This is what He wants from you—your willing, obedient faithfulness and dedicated holiness.
We Can Understand His Parables
He wants you to live according to His Word and be an example to others around you. This earth is a training ground for the Kingdom. Those who are in that first resurrection will be teachers for others in the Kingdom. But first we must ourselves become obedient to the New Covenant in Yahshua the Messiah.
Yahweh is seeking the broken and contrite heart. He seeks those who will allow His Spirit to take root and grow within, who will then live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of Yahweh, Matthew 4:4.
Yahshua spoke to the multitude in parables because they had rejected Him. But He patiently explained the deeper meaning of His parables for the edification of His disciples. We can learn of the deeper significance of His words if we prayerfully accept Yahshua as the salvation Yahweh offers through His Son.
The Only Name for Salvation
The only name by which He promises salvation is Yahshua. "There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved," Acts 4:12 tells us.
The simple truth is, there is NO other Name! It was the Name selected by the Heavenly Father Himself and proclaimed by the heavenly host, Matthew 1:21. He was born of a Jewish maiden of the house of David where Hebrew was spoken as the common language. His Name has important meaning, directly relating to salvation.
Scripture specifically says that salvation is in THE Name. It does not say in a person and then allow us to call Him whatever comes to mind. We are given a specific name to invoke, to call upon! It is the same name chosen by the Heavenly Father. That Name given to His Son is Yahshua. (Write for our free, eye-opening ministudies, How the Savior’s Name Was Changed and Jehovah or Yahweh?)
To Whom Much is Given
Yahshua spoke to the crowd in parables to conceal deeper Bible truth from those who would reject it. He explained what the parables meant so that you and I can read His words with deeper comprehension and better understanding.
Yahshua is choosing certain ones now to rule with Him in the Kingdom (Matthew ), and we are to learn the lessons now. Being given this deeper knowledge, we are also held more accountable in obeying it.
We are told to make our calling and election sure, 1Peter 1:3-11. This life is but a preparation for a glorious future under Yahshua our Savior, Revelation 5:10.
Now that you know that the Father’s Name is Yahweh and that His Son’s is Yahshua, do not deny these vital truths. Stand fast on this message of salvation as did the noble Philadelphians in Revelation 3:8, who "have kept My word and have not denied My Name."
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