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The purpose of Jesus' Parables

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by JohnC, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. The post about the parable of the wicked vinedressers went a little off track.... Rather than trying to "Right the ship" - I wanted to start a new post on the subject of:

    WHY did Jesus teach in Parables?

    It's pretty critical to understand.... and a lot of people mix up didactic "Teaching" stories like Aesop's fables meant to clarify and illustrate with the reason Jesus taught in parables - Dark sayings...

    So, some background.

    There's a critical turning point in Jesus earthly ministry. It's highlighted in Matthew 12 and 13

    This is when the Roman appointed Temple Leaders turn the corner and begin to send the Pharisees and Lawyers out to impugn, malign, scandalize, and DESTROY Jesus RATHER than to try to understand and hear Jesus message.

    This is highlighted in the exchange in Matthew 12:14-42. This begins with the Pharisees declaring that Jesus was working miracles by the power of Satan, then calling him a bastard (Illegitimate son born out of whoredom) Jesus then warns them of the unforgivable nature of Blasphemy against the Spirit and finally discusses their parentage (Brood of vipers, or paraphrased - Seed of the Serpent!)

    THIS marks a critical turning point after which Jesus teaches publicly ONLY in parables - Matt 13:34 "All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them"

    WHY did Jesus ONLY teach publicly in parables after this critical point?
    What is the specific purpose of Parables?
    dUmPsTeR and Silk say Amen and like this.
  2. What happened at that point?

    The Roman Appointed Temple Leadership KNEW who Jesus was. They had set out to either bring Jesus into THEIR fold (Of the Harlot - seeking worldly power at the good pleasure of the Roman authorities) OR to DESTROY Jesus if he would not cooperate.

    We see that they had decided that Option #1 (Cooperate) wasn't going to work - so they had shifted to #2 (Destroy).. and they had sent out their "Heavies" to make sure Jesus got scandalized and destroyed....

    Now... Jesus isn't going to put God's Ministry in the hands of Satan... God doesn't work this way... so what does Jesus do? He SHIFTS GEARS... He now puts all of His effort into preparing the Disciples to be Apostles - and to make sure that the Roman Appointed Temple Leadership cannot claim His authority!

    How does Jesus do this? By teaching publicly ONLY in these dark sayings. Jesus declares the specific purpose of HIS parables in Matthew 13:11-13
    He answered and said to 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. "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. "Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand."

    The Purpose of Parables is to Reveal Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven that have NOT been revealed before! BUT... The reason he taught publicly in parables was to OBSCURE the meanings so that they would not be understood except by Jesus followers.
    dUmPsTeR likes this.
  3. And... In case you aren't convinced... Remember that "A thing shall be established by the testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses"

    Luke 8:10 is the 2nd witness here:
    And He said, "To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that

    'Seeing they may not see,
    And hearing they may not understand.'

    Jesus parables are INTENTIONALLY CONFUSING. They are crafted so that the average person and even the student will NOT understand without taking careful study of Jesus teachings to unravel them!

    They generally reveal Truths of the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God that are NOT revealed previously... That means, it's going to be hard to find the specific wisdom in the Old Testament...
    dUmPsTeR likes this.
  4. John... I think your nuts... Everybody knows parables are simple and straightforward - like Aespop's fables...


    So... Please explain to me the Parable of the Pearl of Great price - Matt 13:45-46
    "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it."

    Keep Jesus caveat in mind:
    This explains a great truth about the Kingdom of Heaven that was NOT previously revealed....
    dUmPsTeR likes this.
  5. What Jesus taught has never contradicted the scriptures that existed at His time. He illuminates, gives details and examples of older, eternal truth. And He carefully defines that He is the fullfillment of God's plan - a bridge for man back to God. All scripture (OT & NT) is written so that it will be read with the HS (as decoder) for understanding. What blinds anyone is their own sins when it comes to understanding. The parables Jesus uses, I agree came exclusively after the point where Christ's time is coming to an end (the crucifixtion) but was meant to get the message out clearly for all time - not just His time on earth in physical form. It is incredibly complex to be able to speak to all times, not just the flavor of the moment. I think? Christ's message is fairly clear. It is meant for everyone and has the depth and complexity of each example that is needed. But there will be eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear - not because it is "hidden/secret" knowledge - but because sin and self will blinds and stops up the ears. The pearl of great price parable is a fairly clear message. It opposes the world's cliche: Don't put all of your eggs in one bucket. :)
    dUmPsTeR and calvin say Amen and like this.
  6. It's not hidden/secret information in the sense of Gnostic or the Jewish Zoar - separate religious knowledge that is not contained in the scripture... It's there in the scripture... It's there for us to search out...

    BUT... We need to be cognocent of the fact that Jesus Himself declared that parables were specifically crafted to obscure.

    We also need to understand that Jesus specifically declared that His parables contained "Mysteries" that are not previously revealed... so if we "Decode" them and they are obvious or simply retell a common Old Testament theme - we probably haven't gotten to the bottom of them....

    But... Jesus ALSO commanded that what is revealed in secret is to be declared from the rooftops.... It's not a mystery to be hoarded.... It's a mystery to be revealed.

    So... The pearl of great price... What do you make of it?

    Here's a hint...

    Pearls are NOT kosher. Orthodox Jews do not adorn themselves with Pearls because pearls are unclean.... An Orthodox Jewish Rabbi named Yeshua would have known that....

  7. Matt 7:6. "Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

    Pearls, not Kosher?

    Psa 78:1. A Maskil of Asaph. Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
    Psa 78.2. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,
    Psa 78:3. things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.
    Psa 78:4. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
    Psa 78:5. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children,
    Psa 78:6. that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children,
    Psa 78:7. so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;
    Psa 78:8. and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.

    No way are these things new or hidden, look at verses 3 & 4.
    What Silk said is right.
    Silk likes this.
  8. Read your old testament man. Come on.

    Leviticus 11:9-12
    Here's 10-11
    "But all in the seas or in the rivers that do not have fins and scales, all that move in the water or any living thing which is in the water, they are an abomination to you. They shall be an abomination to you; you shall not eat their flesh, but you shall regard their carcasses as an abomination."

    An Abomination is a false idol.... You do not even touch such things....

    Oysters/Clams/Shellfish live in the water and do not have fins or scales... Thus Unclean.
    Any part of an shellfish is Unclean... This includes Pearls....

    As such - I will propose your statement of "Throwing your pearls before Swine" ALSO has a very different meaning than you infer.....

    As an aside - this is actually making my case quite a bit stronger... For the most part - we generally make a complete mess of the Parables that Jesus did not specifically explain....

  9. What are you running on about here? I am reading all this, but I can't find wht exactly your point is. Parables are hard to understand? In Jesus time they asked what certain parables meant, so I suppose they could have been obscure.

    You also talked about understanding Jewish traditions. I have an issue with that.

    Like the pearl that had great price. Not all that hard to understand if you read the whole thing and get help from the Holy Spirit. (I stopped telling people they just need to be a bit brighter than a carrot to understand the Word. Its spiritual, God corrected me as I know nothing without help myself)

    It's when we complicate the concept. That is when things get messed up.

    God saw the world, and was willing to put all on the line for us. He sent his Son.
    What he gathered at the end, "US" was of great vaule to him, so much Value He gave the greatest gift that scripture call undescrible by even words. You could use every word, pray in tongues all day, and it still would not be good enough to decribe the great gift and price that God see's us.

    Don't cast Holy things to dogs, and perals to swine.

    Swine can't tell the difference between a pearl and a lump of mud, and dogs don't care unless it's wrapped in steak.

    At Jesus time these things might not have been straight forward, but I think today they are not all that complicated.

    Anyway, Jesus said will will no more speak to you in Parables, but show us plainly the Father. Nothing is hide from that shall not be manifested, or anything kept secret that shall not come abroad, if we have "Ears" to hear.

    I have to side with Calvin and Silk on this, unless you make it more clear what direction and concern you pointing at. It seems like your on to something, but I can't tell exactly what that is.

    I also notice folks beating up scripture irratates you. Does me also, but I am sure our FAther gets irratated at me sometimes for not seeing it simple like it is either.

    sorry for the bad spell'in. Tablet, Keyboard and no natural ability to spell.

    dUmPsTeR likes this.
  10. "Here's 10-11
    "But all in the seas or in the rivers that do not have fins and scales, all that move in the water or any living thing which is in the water, they are an abomination to you. They shall be an abomination to you; you shall not eat their flesh, but you shall regard their carcasses as an abomination." "
    Is a Pearl the flesh or the carcase of an Oyster? No it is not, so what is the relevance please?
    My eye sight is admittedly impaired by cataracts, but even with the aid of a magnifier I can't see Pearls mentioned here.
    Nor can I see anywhere else where Pearls are listed as food, so I figure Pearls would not be covered by the 'food laws'.
    But to state the obvious, regardless of how cryptic Jesus' teachings might be perceived to be, He taught using common and well known things. (Pearls must have been common and well known)
    Have you noticed that He never taught anything by referring to i-phones or facebook in His illustrations?...why was that do you think?
    Pardon the sarcasm,(if that is what you think this is)..you quote a passage to support something about which it is silent. :speechless:
  11. How many pearls have you eaten?

    Why Hermenutics (However you spell it) using history, culture, lore and the 3 O' clock news to interpet scripture is bad, when it's the Holy Spirits Job.
  12. Calvin is correct. In-context scripture shows the scripture used is to be found in the dietary laws for food and eating. The Jews used an almost extinct sea snail to dye their tzit tzit (blue) for their fringes. The snail was not "kosher" to eat. Kosher has to do in context with food and eating and dietary law even today - period. It is used now culturally - "That's not kosher" - to mean "that's not right". That is slang. Today, in it's standard usage - it means food blessed by a Rabbi.

    I said and will repeat: You need the Holy Spirit to decode scripture. Best advice I ever got here was to read and write posts with the HS and have since expanded it to everything I read/hear/watch with the HS. I do not have an issue with some of what JohnC is saying. But I do have an issue with his word "obscure" which implies "secret/hidden" knowledge that only the best/better Christians have access to. I may have a deeper, more complex understanding of "the pearl of great price" cross referenced with many other verses but even in childhood, I understood the core truth: You have to give your all to God. It's why I like cliches. "A stitch in time saves 9". One day it hits you - if I had taken the time to do this, I wouldn't have gone all over the map to arrive at the very same place late. (For example). Christ's message should be clear to all truth seekers, at some level, wherever your spot in your walk or journey with God is. Satan can outdo all of us combined with scripture. For him it is obscure because he does not have access to the key to understanding - nor does his seed. Pride and self will always limit understanding. It (sin) blocks believer AND unbeliever. But if you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, in your heart, each individual is given the same amount of that key. We are all equal at the foot of the cross.
    By Faith likes this.
  13. Actually, I can't stand the thought of eating oyster.....slippery slimy goo :sick::sick:
    Silk likes this.
  14. Leviticus is simply "Jewish Traditions?".. and you have an issue with me viewing it as more than simply miscellaneous ethnic tradition? Really?

    You are the only one so far who has even taken a swing. I appreciate that.

    Interestingly, your exposition of Pearls before Swine is typical, and goes back all the way to Augustine... My issue is that it specifically contradicts the "Nothing is hidden that shall not be manifested..." bit...

    That's actually one of the reasons I went through all this... I basically thought the same thing... I think God brought it back to my attention - and then I set out to unwind it - I realized that I held fast to an interpretation of "Wisdom" that directly contradicts all of Jesus teachings about what to do with "Wisdom" that He reveals because of this idea that it's Godly to hoard wisdom if people are not polite or friendly or whatever...

    If pearls before Swine means don't give your Wisdom to people who hate you - then this is directly in contradiction to "What I tell you in the ear, preach from the housetops" as well as God's direction to ALL of the Old Testament Prophets... That's when I decided this interpretation was wrong and that I had to search it out...

  15. #15 JohnC, Dec 25, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2014
    Here's my take on it...

    The "Pearl" comes from the carcass of an unclean animal... As such - it's to be treated as "Abomination" by Orthodox Jews... Orthodox Jews don't adorn themselves with pearls...

    Ironically enough, Christians are viewed as "Idolaters" or "Abominable" by the same people because of our faith in Jesus.

    The Pearl grows because of Irritation in an unclean place....
    So do we. We grow in faith through persecution and irritation in an unclean world.

    The Pearl must be REMOVED from it's unclean host to become an item of adornment...
    Oh.. So do WE! We are declared to be "Jewels on His Crown" and such...

    The pearl stops growing when it is removed it's unclean host...
    Interesting.... Surprisingly true of us as well... Probably more than we understand...

    The Merchant Man

    The "Merchant Man" is seeking goodly pearls? Why? To present to another....
    1st Corinthians 15:24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.

    The man goes away
    Jesus had to go away to accomplish all of this.

    He finds ONE pearl of great price.
    ONE treasure that IS of such incomparable value that it is worth selling ALL that He has to purchase... The implication is that the other "Pearls" were not worth giving up all to gain...

    The man sells ALL he has
    Jesus gave up far more than we can ever imagine. He was fully God with God the Father.

    the man Buys it
    Jesus SUCCEEDS in obtaining this great treasure. Us.. Though the price was astronomical and cost him EVERYTHING, it was sufficient - He SUCCEEDED in getting His Treasure!

  16. If that is your revelation, then fine. The Word is pretty deep, and things you read get expounded on my by the Lord.

    just a bit complex for me. I look at it more simple than you did. Throwing things God gave us to those who don't care and waste it.
  17. #17 calvin, Dec 25, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2014
    Mat 7:6. "Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

    Have you a sound explanation as to why Jesus taught using common everyday things that were shunned by the orthodox Jews (and by implication everyone else) then?
    Dogs were a part of everyday life, so when He mentioned 'dog' His listeners visualized a 'dog'...probably the family pooch....Dogs were also unclean, yet they were kept around.
    Pearls were well enough known such that when He mentioned them people would visualize a small and expensive bead....something only the rich could afford. Pigs were also well known yet unclean also.

    Luke 8:32. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission.

    Why they were keeping unclean pigs I have no idea, yet obviously pigs were well enough known to be useful as an object lesson.
    So, we need to understand why Jesus used familiar (yet unclean) animals in His teaching.
    Maybe (and I'm guessing ) pigs were kept to use as garbage disposal units, but that they were kept nevertheless can't be denied.
  18. @JohnC - I understand what you are saying more clearly. I would only say that to me, the core truth of this passage is that salvation (the pearl) is worth everything you have or ever will because God gave more than we ever can to get this message to us. You can say that the pearl symbolizes wisdom, or Christ, or us in the body of Christ - they are all true because truth at every level - stays true. And it stays true from whatever angle one looks at it. I would only caution that the best lies/deception are built around a truth and out of context with added levels/logics become deception and mislead.
    calvin likes this.

  19. That's a really good point....

    There was (And still is) a large tension between the extra-ultra orthodox who go to often ludicrous extents to "keep the law" and the average person who feels that sort of thing is foolishness..... Unfortunately, who often yells louder? Who sits on the boards who make the rules?

    We see the same thing in Churches - where some denominations and groups within denominations go to ludicrous extents to "Cast out the World" - even ignoring the Jesus own specific forbidding of doing such grand false-pious acts... For example - several denominations demand their members make an explicit renunciation of drinking alcohol...... Fine if you are an alcoholic and struggle with this sin in your life.. Worthless as False-piety for everybody else.... These denominations should know this - yet they still do it... So, everybody else in the place just sort of "Winks" at the Denominational Statements and goes on living their lives... The HUGE down side of this is that we put on the false faces when we go to church - lying to everybody else that we go along with this stuff just like "They do".... This sort of false piety prevents us from really being honest with ourselves and others - and actually confessing our sins...

    The interesting implication in that parable that I believe Jesus is trying to bring out is that False-Pious Grandstanding acts like throwing "Unclean" pearls before Swine are just as much presumptuous hatred of God as are acts that are OBVIOUSLY, outwardly presumptuous acts expressing your hatred for God and His ways - throwing your portion of sacrificial food to unclean dogs..

    See, we often think of the false piety and prideful grandstanding as simply bad manners or such - I have seen few churches who would treat this sort of behavior with the same attitude as they would treat members who are openly practicing Adultry or fiscal malfeasance.... but Jesus appears to be saying NO - It's just as bad!

    Jesus often spoke of false piety and religious grandstanding - maybe 1/2 of the sermon on the mount talks of such...

    That was in the Decapolis. 10 gentile cities up North/East of the Galilee on the way to Syria.. My interpretation is that the pigs were kept there because Gentiles like eating pork and will pay to buy them.... If people will pay for them - then people will raise them... Then as now, the Ultra-orthodox do-gooders were a small minority of the population - and when you are far away from the Religious Power center - their voice isn't as loud...

    It's interesting that Jesus allowed the Legion of Demons to inhabit the unclean pigs and then drown to death... 2,000 pigs is worth a SIGNIFICANT amount of money... In Today's money - that's at least $200,000 worth of pigs! 5 years wages for an "Average" person today.... I can imagine that the City Fathers were pretty concerned about that magnitude of loss at the hands of "A prophet"..... No wonder they asked Jesus to leave.....

  20. But... As I said in the opening of this to everybody...

    If you don't see it or don't agree - no worries. I understand....

    God bless and merry Christmas.

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