Difficult Texts

"And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand,' lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."

The question raised here is whether Christ used parables to deliberately frustrate a certain class in their desire to be converted. Revelation 22:17 makes it plain that "whosoever will" may come and be accepted into the kingdom. "The Lord is ... longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9. Obviously there is no intention of Christ to hide any truth that would lead a soul to repentance and conversion.

The meaning is clarified completely when we read the parallel account in Matthew's gospel. He gives the reason why they hear not and see not. "For this people's heart is waxed gross, 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 13:15. Thus the arbitrary act of seeing is not on God's part, but theirs. Zechariah declared, "Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law." Zechariah 7:12.