Month 9:15, Week 2:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5937:252 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 17 December 2013
Their Mystery Expounded
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el and may the grace of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) be with you at home and abroad. Greetings from the Assembly Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon in Sweden!
A New Constitution and Miracles in East Africa
It has been a busy week writing the new Constitution which is now urgently required in East Africa where the number of converts is growing apace and where the leaders need a vessel for their discipling program. Yahweh is beginning to show visions and give revelations to believers in Africa and directing them to this work. One Pastor, with congregations in Mombassa and Siaya in Kenya, whom Yahweh spent six months bringing Him to Torah, fasted and prayed for 6 days to know what he should do, and was a shown in vision a huge map of East Africa and in the tiny town of Migori, where we are headquartered, was a menorah. He journeyed for two days on his motorcycle to see our man there. So the revival we have waited for is beginning to happen. Our aim is to have the draft Constitution finished in time for their two conferences in Kenya and Tanzania in less than a month's time. Our plan is to be able to present it to General Conference by next Sukkot. So please keep this important project in your prayers. I will be talking more about this in my Conference Address to the East Africa Mission.
A Difficult Passage of Scripture
Today's passage I want to talk to you about was brought to my attention by my son who wanted to know what it meant. It's one I have skimmed over in the past and, unable to give him a direct answer, decided to make it a matter of further study and prayer because I was hungry to know the meaning too. What I want to share with you today is, I feel, very relevent to the message He wants me to share with you about parables so let us begin by looking at this extract from the Gospel of Mark which Yah'shua (Jesus) quoted from the Prophet Isaiah:
An Apparent Contradiction?
"But when [Yah'shua/Jesus] was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable [of the sower]. And He said to them, 'To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of Elohim (God); but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that 'Seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn, and their sins be forgiven them''" (Mark 4:10-12, NKJV; cp. Is.6:9-10).
Like many who read this passage for the first time, my son was perplexed at the apparent - and I underline the word 'apparent' - contradiction between the message of deliberately hiding the emet (truth) from certain people and denying them their salvation, and the urgent message of Scripture to urgently bring the Besorah (Gospel) to the world desperately in need of hearing it. What we must ascertain is what was originally said and untangle bad translations.
Yahweh's Purpose Behind Parables
If there is one thing parables are designed to do it is to make you think and dig hard for the meaning. There are some things that Yahweh doesn't mince His words over and there are other things which He purposefully conceals. Some things He gives in parables that can only be understood by the anointing of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) because certain people - including demons and Satan himself - aren't supposed, or allowed, to know. In spite of the superior intellect and knowledge of the fallen malakim (angels) there are some things that are permanently hidden from them, things accessible only through a pure human heart.
The Mode of Atonement Leading to Salvation Hidden for Generations
One thing Yahweh was at pains to hide was how and when He would send the Promised Seed whose incarnation on earth and successful accomplishment of His Mission would spell the certain end for Satan and his fallen hosts. The Cross came as a huge shock to the Enemy because the outcome was unpredicted and unknown by him! Interpreting Yah'shua's (Jesus') death on the cross was, he thought, his ultimate triumph, for which he had killed millions to prevent His birth. So His resurrection was was a profound shock and the deadly blow that finished off all his aspirations to unseat Elohim (God) from His Throne devastating. The continuing theories as to who the Messiah would be and what He would do that have been perpetuated by unsaved Jews today is testimony to the utter impossibility of interpreting prophetic revelation without the gift of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). They even vainly believe they are collectively the 'Suffering Servant' of Isaiah, so utterly uninspired are they. Unanointed, nominal believers continue to misinterpret Scripture too.
Forcing Us to Think Hard
Yet parables, such as the one we are looking at today, are also for the saved. One thing such parables do for us is they make sure we do a lot of thinking until we get the right answer, and there is a divine purpose in that. Yahweh doesn't give us puzzles to solve for our entertainment, though no doubt some of you like jigsaw puzzles and the like, but because He wants us to develop exegetical skills and to get insights that will in turn be keys to solving other mysteries which are concealed from all but those who deeply value and cherish them for the simple reason that the deeper you go, the closer to Yahweh's heart you get.
The Secrets of the Most High
Yahweh doesn't share His innermost secrets to any but those whom He trusts. As Yah'shua ben Sirach wrote:
The Friends of Elohim are Trustworthy
"A betrayer of secrets forfeits all esteem and will never find the kind of friend he wants. Be fond of a friend and keep faith with him, but if you have betrayed his secrets, do not pursue him any more; for as a man destroys his enemy, so you have destroyed the friendship of your neighbour, and as you let a bird slip through your fingers, so you have let your friend go, and will not catch him. Do not go after him - he is far away, he has fled like a gazelle from the snare. For a wound can be bandaged and forgiven, but for the man who has betrayed a secret there is no hope" (Ecclus.27:16-24, JB).
Not many people in Scripture are called the "friend of Elohim (God)" as Abraham was (Jas.2:23) or a talmid (disciple) especially beloved by Yah'shua (Jesus) as John was (Jn.13:23; 20:2; 21:7,20). The reason that these and others like David had such an intimate friendship with Elohim (God) was because they proved themselves trustworthy. Don't suppose, though, that it's only a small handfull of believers that Elohim (God) wants this friendship with - He wants it with all believers if they will but demonstrate through their emunah (faith) and obedience that they are trustworthy:
The Good Deacon and Why He is So
"You are My friends if you do whatever I command you" (John 15:14, NKJV).
But to be a friend you must first be a good shammash or servant (v.15), that is, a deacon (or deaconess - Rom.16:1). Those of you who have deep friendships will know what makes a friendship strong. You share secrets with friends which you wouldn't share with others who might betray your confidences but once they break those confidences you don't easily trust them again. Yahweh shares His secrets by means of parables and anoints those whom He trusts so that they may progressively go deeper and deeper into His heart. Not everybody is necessary ready for the the deeper mysteries of Yahweh's heart - there has to be preparation first.
Firstborn Friends of Yahweh: The Writings of John
Many such mysteries hidden up in the Tanakh (Old Testament) are opened for all to understand in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament), but not all. Some things are hidden up for the firstborn sons alone (Heb.12:23) and perhaps not unsurprisingly many of these are to be found in the writings of the "belovèd talmid (disciple)", John. These writings have a depth unmatched anywhere else in the Bible which is why you can't read his Besorah (Gospel) in the same way as the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark & Luke). As Messianic Jewish scholar Andrew Roth has noted, "the entire Gospel [of John] in Aramaic is a mixture of spirituality, poetry and even humor that are permanently welded together" . If you don't have a sense for poetry or lack a sense of humour, you will miss a huge aspect of Yahweh's heart. Yes, Yahweh does have a sense of humour! (Sorry to disappoint the many acid-faced religionists out there for whom Scripture is just a collection of stern, lifeless rules).
Secrets That Yahweh Shares
If I were to share with you some of the things I know about Elohim (God) you wouldn't believe me. I have created waves as it is revealing some of the deep things that have been hidden for generations precisely because Yahweh didn't want them known until our day. Most have been buried deep beneath fossilised human traditions and creeds. I normally get people who are interested in joining this work to read my article, Lev's Hot Potatoes
Hard Truths for the Remnant, early on - if they can't cope with that (learning that the Ruach/Spirit is our Heavenly Mother is enough to panic most mysogenist believers) then they're definitely not ready for this Work of Yahweh.
Revealing Deep Things Piecemeal
So, no, I haven't shared everything I know (and I probably never will unless Yahweh gives others the same revelation and the Ruach says we can talk about it together), and Yahweh doubtless hasn't shared a ton of deep emet (truth) about Himself to me precisely because I am not ready! That is one reason He gives us parables, so that He can reveal His deeper truths piecemeal. He desires no spiritual babe to choke to death on meat (1 Cor.3:1-2). That is why we are instructed not to hand over the keys to the Kingdom to those who would trample them underfoot.
Have You Ever Reacted Angrily to Truth?
How many times have we been told the emet (truth) to our faces and not believed it? How many times has it provoked someone you know to rage? That anger is often provoked by demons who have been given legal rights to interfere with our thinking and feeling processes because we have believed their lies which over the years have become more and more entrenched. And religious spirits can be amongst the worst and hardest to deal with, as any deliverance minister will tell you .
Truth Obscure, Falsehood Established
In our day and age where lies are submerged in seas of other lies, where lies everywhere surround us, it requires a special kind of person to get access to heavenly emet (truth). The French Mathematician rightly said:
Lovers of the Truth are Scarce
"Truth is so obscure in these times and falsehood so established that, unless one loves the truth, he cannot know it" (Blaise Pascal)
If you are not a lover of the emet (truth) for its own sake, it is better you remain in ignorance, for the emet (truth) makes you accountable before the Throne of Elohim (God). That is another reason Yahweh conceals deeper emet (truth) in parables out of pure ahavah (love) for people. That is why we shield our little chidlren from much of the ugliness of the world because they can't can't cope with it. Likewise, if we were to have all of our sins paraded in front of us in an instant we would likely be unable to handle it. As the poet Thomas Gray, who coined the phrase that has since become a proverb in the English language, said, "where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise" . Certain kinds of 'wisdom' we do not need, especially the variety offered by the Serpent to Eve in the Garden of Eden:
Times and Seasons for Knowing
"So when the woman saw that the tree was tov (good) for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate" (Gen.3:5-6, NKJV).
Other kinds of 'knowing' which are kosher and healthy when adult but positively harmful when a child would include things like sex which is why the devil is pushing so hard for the legalisation of a satanic pedophile agenda in the laws of nations. Here is one example of something that is good at one time but bad at another. And sex is positively evil when brought to bear on a child. Many a fool has deluded himself into believing Satan's lie that Yahweh's laws were given to hinder, restrict and punish rather than to bless yet no one in their right mind who loves children would ever try to force a newborn child to eat a beef stake.
Guarding the Innermost Temple of Elohim
Yahweh conceals the sacred to guard the innermost temple of the Elohim Family. Just as a righteous parent guards his or her children, so a righteous husband guards his wife, the weaker vessel in their relationship. Indeed we have all been given the power to bless or hurt others and it is up to us to learn to exercise restraint through the example of godly parenting.
The Carnal Mind is Blind to Truth
I hope this lengthy introduction has made plain that there are sound reasons for hiding some things up but in general, when it comes to Scripture, we need to remember:
Foolishness to the Unregenerated
"The natural (carnal) man does not receive the things of the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God), for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor.2:14, NKJV).
So another reason why the method of Yahweh's Plan of Salvation in the form of the blood sacrifice of His Son was hidden anciently was not just to thwart Satan but also to save ignorant men from blasphemy when viewed by them as foolishness...as the philosophers of Athens indeed once did in responding to Paul's preaching.
Be Passionate for Truth!
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of Elohim (God). For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.' Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not Elohim (God) made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of Elohim (God), the world through wisdom did not know Elohim (God), it pleased Elohim (God) through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe" (1 Cor.1:18-21, NKJV).
The Scriptures are spiritual, and those who have not been spiritually regenerated cannot understand spiritual things. But if a person honestly and sincerely desires to know the emet (truth), having a love and passion for it, then Yahweh can - and will - open their mind and heart so they might be forgiven of their transgressions.
Exegesis of Isaiah 6:9-10
Let us now chew on today's scripture a little. Yah'shua (Jesus) is quoting the prophet Isaiah:
Hiding the Meaning of the Parable of the Sower
"And He said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed" (Isa.6:9-10, NKJV).
Yah'shua (Jesus) quotes this in the context of the Parable of the Sower which He had to explain privately to His talmidim (disciples) after the crowd had gone precisely because in the parable members of that crowd were being referenced as those who would not make it. Their fate had to be hidden from them so as to give them maximum opportunity to repent and embrace the King and the Kingdom. Not only that, but a little before some of His family "went out to seize Him, for they were saying He was out of His mind" (Mk.3:21, HRV). But let us look more closely at the wording of Isaiah by examining v.10 as it appears in the Aramaic Peshitta:
Bind and Deaf to Truth
"For the heart of this people is darkened and their ears are heavy and their eyes closed, so that they may not see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their their heart and be converted and be forgiven." (v.10, Pesh.).
This verse in Aramaic is reflexive and passive, which is to say, their eyes, ears, and hearts have been closed by love of the material world. Yahweh is telling the prophet Isaiah that the people's hearts are darkened or hardened, and their ears have become dull. They can physically hear, but they cannot spiritually understand; then can physically see, but they cannot spiritually perceive (see Jn.12:42, Pesh.). Yahweh did not close their eyes or stop their ears - THEY DID. They brought this upon themselves through their disobedience and transgression against Yahweh's Torah and His ways that lead to chayim (life). Yahweh is always ready to receive those who are ready to repent sincerely and return to Him. It was true then as it was true now. 
Another Aramaic Translation
Here we see the price that can be paid with a bad translation. Let's have a look at a slightly better, yet still deficient translation, whilst based on the Peshitta and other Hebraic MSS still falls short:
Another Greek Misunderstanding
"And [Yah'shua] (Jesus) said to them, To you is given the mystery of the Kingdom of Eloah (God). But to those outside, everything is in parables. Who, 'when they see, they will see yet not see, and when they hear, they will hear yet not understand lest they repent and their sins be forgiven them'" (Mk.4:11-12, HRV).
Here the HRV translator uses "Who" instead of "in order that" (or "so that" in the NKJV) because the early Greek translator has misunderstood the Aramaic daleth. The same translation error occurs in the Gospel of Matthew. Let's see that in an Aramaic translation too where the original sense is even clearer:
"And therefore I am speaking to you in parables, who  'seeing will not see, and hearing will not hear, neither will they understand'. To establish them in the prophecy of Yesha'yahu (Isaiah), he who said, 'Hear you indeed, but understand not, and see you indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes, lest they, seeing with their eyes, and hearing with their ears, and understanding with their heart, return, and be healed'. But happy are your ears, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly, I say to you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see what you are seeing, but have not seen, and to hear what you are hearing, but have not heard. Hear you therefore the parable of the seed" (Mt.13:13-18, HRV).
The passage, in my view, really doesn't make much sense apart from context of Yah'shua's (Jesus') own relatives who said He was mad. It wasn't intended to be easily understood, nor any other parable for that matters:
A Proposed Literal Translation
"I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us" (Ps.78:2-3, NKJV).
Were I to render my own translation, I would use the Peshitta together with the HRV understanding, making for:
""For the heart of this people is darkened and their ears are heavy and their eyes closed, for they may not see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their their heart and be converted and be forgiven." (Is.6:10, my transl.).
I really don't think we need to make it more complicated than this. I may be wrong, so this is just a provisional translation. In other words those whose hearts are darkened, whose ears are heavy and whose eyes are closed because of their wonton materialism and willful disobedience to the mitzvot (commandments) ARE FORBIDDEN FROM BEING CONVERTED AND FORGIVEN. The repentance process cannot be side-stepped. This makes better sense in the overall scope of the message of salvation. It is the only way I can harmonise it with the rest of Scripture. There may be another sense that I have missed, like the reason the cherubim with flaming swords were set up at the entrance to Eden to prevent Adam and Eve in their fallen state from becoming immortal in sin and therefore without any hope of salvation had they obtained access to the Tree of Life without repentance and the Atonement of Messiah...which had not yet taken place. But this seems unlikely to me.
Yahweh Dumbs Down the Unrepentant
One thing is clear, though, and this is perhaps the more important issue: Yahweh dumbs down certain people while He sorts out the lukewarm or unregenerated, nominal believers from those who are genuinely born again and walking in the mitzvot (commandments). Only those who are faithful are shown the meaning of the mystery contained within the parable of the Kingdom and those who are saved, and those who are saved for a while before falling away. The message given by Yahweh through Isaiah is that those who would not see, perceive or understand would do so by choice. It is here that a parphrase version of the Bible gets over the meaning accurately, I feel:
The Good New Bible Gets It Right
"'You have been given the secret of the Kingdom of Elohim (God)', Yah'shua (Jesus) answered. 'But others, who are on the outside, hear all things by means of parables, so that, 'They may look and look and yet not see; they may listen and listen, yet not understand. For if they did [look, listen and see], they would turn to Elohim (God) and He would forgive them'" (Mk.4:10-12, GNB/TEV).
I don't often praise the Good News Bible paraphrase but I have to say that they have the sense spot on in this case. It's the best translation of all and harmonies with everything else said on the subject.
The Parable of the Sower is the Key to All the Other Parables
Why is getting this passage right so important? Because, according to the Saviour, if we don't understand the Parable of the Sower, we'll not understand any of His other parables!
You Must Change Your Entire Worldview
"Do you really not understand this parable? Then how are you going to understand all the other parables?" (Mk.4:13, JBP)
Yah'shua (Jesus) is telling His talmidim (disciples) that what He requires of them is nothing short of a complete altering of their worldview. This is a paradigm shift. Yah'shua (Jesus) was altering the way that His followers perceived the world, giving them a new perspective so that they could identify and understand the emet (truth). However, to those who continued thinking in the old worldview, emet (truth) is offensive. This is why they shut their eyes and ears, and much rather believe the illusions they created for themselves, not realising that the emet (truth), no matter how unpleasant they thought it to be, would in the end, set them free.
Battling the Deception
We see expressed here the believer's - and especially the minister's - heartache as he (or she) tries to reach the unbeliever or nominal believer with something so radically different from the illusion they have created around their false intepretation of Scripture that they sometimes go into violent defence mode and rail hard on those trying to set them free. This old mindset still continues in Judaism today, only it has got considerably worse and has become more and more reinforced by layer upon layer of Talmudic deception. Then, as now, for these people the only way to dispense emet (truth) is in small doses and in parables, chipping away at the encrusted layers of deception that has become the false comfort zones of those enmeshed by religious spirits. Then, as now, those hearing the Besorah (Good News) often wanted to riot and attack Yah'shua (Jesus) for the things He said. We may not like this response but we, like our Master, have the responsibility at least to give such people some exposure to the emet (truth), however milky. Even so, then, as now, He knew that most of them would not accept it. They would hear the emet (truth), but not truly take it in. The reason, of course, is that they failed to accept the first premise: you have to be willing to believe the person who is telling you the emet (truth) if you are ever to be able to really accept it. So don't feel a failure if you are rejected - if Elohim (God) in the flesh couldn't reach them, neither will you.
All Will See One Day
One day everyone will understand:
Faith By Sight
"Every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him" (Rev.1:7, NKJV).
Meantime, every ear must hear and be given the opportunity to repent. Most will not understand, for they have doubts and worse, disbelief. Like Thomas, he wanted to experience it for himself:
The Door Opened to Those With Faith
"Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe" (John 20:25, NKJV).
Few are granted Thomas' request. Why? Because not everyone will genuinely repent even with such an experience - Thomas did, after all, lay down his life preaching the Besorah (Gospel) in the Orient as far east as India where he died a martyr. That's why Paul was shown such grace because Yahweh knew he would give his life even unto death, being beheaded in Rome. Yes, my friends, entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven remains narrow (Mt.7:13-14; Lk.13:24) - it hasn't widened in case you have heard rumours saying it has at some lawless charismatic church. Many will desire to enter, and few shall, because few find it (Mt.7:14). I may not know you, if you are one of our readers. But ask, seek, and knock and the door shall be open to you.
Parables Conceal Complexities
Yah'shua (Jesus) spoke in parables so that we could understand the complexity of Heaven and what is expected of us. It isn't as simple as you think. If it were, why did Paul admonish the shammashim (deacons) to "hold... the mystery of the emunah (faith) with a pure conscience" (1 Tim.3:9, NKJV). It may begin simple, like a trusting infant running to its parent for safety, but it does not remain that way. You see, if you take the parable at face value, then you will miss the point. For it is symbolic of the reality of our Elohim (God), and that is something really B-I-G! He is mysterious, complex and awesome in His greatness!
Yah'shua's Parables Were Unique
The parables of Yah'shua (Jesus) are unique. Whereas the parables of other teachers and moralists can to some extent be separated from the teachers themselves, Yah'shua (Jesus) and His parables are inseparable. To fail to understand Him, and indeed therefore the Father, is to fail to understand the parables. Consequently, to those who remain unaware of who He really is, or ignorant of the nature of the gift that He came to bring mankind, the mysteries of the Kingdom of Elohim (God), however many parables they may hear about it, must remain mysteries. "To those who are outside, all things come in parables" (Mark 4:11, NKJV).
Unbelief In Spite of ALl the Miracles
The whole of the ministry of Yah'shua (Jesus), everything He says, not merely that part of His teaching that is spoken in 'parables', and all His miracles remain on the level of earthly stories, and portents devoid of any deeper significance. It is 'because they seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand' (Mt.13:14) that the words of Isaiah's prophecy, quoted in Matthew 13:14-15 and Mark 4:12 are fulfilled in them. It is important to notice that this same quotation from Isaiah is found in the Gospel of John to explain the disbelief of the Jews in Yah'shua (Jesus) though He had done so many miracles before them:
"But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: 'Master, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of Yahweh been revealed?' Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: 'He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.' These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him" (John 12:37-41, NKJV).
Today, as before, miracles are being done, and they will increase in frequency as Yahweh sends His Ruach (Spirit) down for the last time to save those who would be saved and to gather in the remnant for the Final Gathering. And once again people will refuse to believe, sealing their fate with those who refused to believe before them:
Glorify Elohim (God), praise His Holy Name Yahweh, and like Thomas, confess to Yah'shua (Jesus), "My Master and my Elohim (God)!" (John 20:28, ISRV). Amen.
"For since the creation of the world [Yahweh's] invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Elohimhead (Godhead), so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew Elohim (God), they did not glorify Him as Elohim (God), nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools..." (Rom.1:19-22, NKJV).
 Andrew Gabriel Roth, Ruach Qadim: Aramaic Origins of the New Testament (Tushiyah Press, USA: 2005), p.149
 See our Deliverance from Demons subsite
 Thomas Gray, Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College (1742)
 George M. Lamsa, Old Testament Light: A Scriotural Commentary Based on the Aramaic of the Ancient Peshitta Text (Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, TN: 1964), pp.625-626
 "Hebrew YNDA does not appear here in the Aramaic nor in Shem Tob (James Scott Trimm, The Hebraic-Roots Version Scriptures (SANJ, Hurst, TX: 2004), p.1201m footnote #491