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GoldFish
Dec 13th 2008, 06:28 PM
I was reading through Mark today and a few versus seemed a bit odd, so I was hoping someone could explain them to me.

Mark 3:28-29 (NIV) I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.


The first verse says that ALL will be forgiven, and the second verse seems to contradict that?
Don't we have to ask for forgiveness to recieve it? Why is he telling us that all sins of men will be forgiven (which would include those that do not ask or want).
So there on unforgivable sins? What then does it mean to "blaspheme against the Holy Spirit" and what would the consequences of this be?
The second verse I had questions on is
Mark 4:11-12 (NIV) He told them, "The seceret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, "They may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!"


This makes it sound like Jesus doesn't want the people to uderstand his parables. Mark 4:34 reiterates the fact that he only explains the parables to his own disciples. Why does he not want people to perceive, understand, turn, and be forgiven?
Thanks!
Dan

Sirus
Dec 13th 2008, 06:54 PM
The second verse I had questions on is
Mark 4:11-12 (NIV) He told them, "The seceret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, "They may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!"


This makes it sound like Jesus doesn't want the people to uderstand his parables. Mark 4:34 reiterates the fact that he only explains the parables to his own disciples. Why does he not want people to perceive, understand, turn, and be forgiven?

Thanks!
DanBecause He came for a purpose, to die and be raised for all mankind. He came to do the will of the Father which means there is a plan from beginning to end to follow. Since Israel had already rejected the bridegroom throwing the best man into prison (Mar 1), it was time to begin preaching the kingdom of God, the gospel, for people to repent and believe, not just repent for the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that believe and have not seen. Hope that helps.

Yukerboy
Dec 13th 2008, 07:57 PM
I was reading through Mark today and a few versus seemed a bit odd, so I was hoping someone could explain them to me.

Mark 3:28-29 (NIV) I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.


The first verse says that ALL will be forgiven, and the second verse seems to contradict that?
Don't we have to ask for forgiveness to recieve it? Why is he telling us that all sins of men will be forgiven (which would include those that do not ask or want).
So there on unforgivable sins? What then does it mean to "blaspheme against the Holy Spirit" and what would the consequences of this be?
The second verse I had questions on is
Mark 4:11-12 (NIV) He told them, "The seceret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, "They may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!"


This makes it sound like Jesus doesn't want the people to uderstand his parables. Mark 4:34 reiterates the fact that he only explains the parables to his own disciples. Why does he not want people to perceive, understand, turn, and be forgiven?
Thanks!
Dan

Dan!

I've been on the boards saying about how there is only one unforgivable sin that man can commit. Now that you have made your post, I read it in a totally new light.

All sin and blasphemies of men can be forgiven.
Whoever Blasphemies of the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven.

I'm going to go out on a limb, for sake of discussion and say that the ones that cannot be forgiven that sin are not men, as all sin is forgiven men. Nope, the only ones that can't be forgiven that sin are Satan and his angels.

On your last part, you are exactly right. No one knows God except for Jesus and those that Jesus chose to reveal Him to.

Scruffy Kid
Dec 13th 2008, 07:59 PM
Hi Dan! (GoldFish)
Welcome to Bibleforums!! :hug:
It's great to have you here! :pp :pp :pp

I was reading through Mark today and a few versus seemed a bit odd, so I was hoping someone could explain them to me.

Mark 3:28-29 (NIV) I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin. ...

The second verse I had questions on is

Mark 4:11-12 (NIV) He told them, "The seceret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, "They may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!"


This makes it sound like Jesus doesn't want the people to uderstand his parables. Mark 4:34 reiterates the fact that he only explains the parables to his own disciples. Why does he not want people to perceive, understand, turn, and be forgiven?
Thanks!
DanThanks, also, for your good questions. I'm going to leave it to others to talk about 3:28-29 (See parallels at Matt. 12:31, Luke 12:10).

Let me try to answer about the odd words at Mark 4:34 (See parallels at Matt. 13, esp. vv. 13-15; Luke 4, esp. v. 10). To understand what Jesus is doing here, we need to read carefully, look at the whole passage (Mark 4:1-34), and understand that the words "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" (verse 12) are, and are intended to be read as, a quotation from Isaiah 6:9-10.


Trying to make sense of God's words to Isaiah

First let's look at the Isaiah passage, which is a wonderful and crucial passage, in which the Lord first calls Isaiah, and commissions him.
Key:
black -- verse numbers
blue -- general text
bold -- God's words to Isaiah
green -- Isaiah's words, to God or the people
purple -- angels' words
1-4 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
Above it stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with two he covered his face,
and with two he covered his feet, and with tw0 he flew.
And one cried unto another, and said,
.......Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

5 Then said I,
.......Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips,
.......and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips:
.......for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
And he laid it upon my mouth, and said,
....... Lo, this has touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

8-9 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying,
.......Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?
Then said I,
.......Here am I; send me.
And he said,
.......Go, and tell this people,
..............Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
.......Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes;
.......lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears,
.......and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

11-13 Then said I,
.......Lord, how long?
And he answered,
.......Until the cities are wasted without inhabitant, and the houses empty,
.......and the land is utterly desolate, And the LORD has removed men far away,
.......and there is a great forsaking in the midst of the land.

.......But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten:
.......as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves:
.......so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.
Clearly the purpose of God in sending Isaiah is not to make people unable to repent: there would be no point in sending him in that case. Isaiah begins by showing his understanding of the people: though Isaiah himself is a very godly young man, in the presence of God he at once sees himself, in the light of God's holiness, as unclean -- as one whose words, in particular, are unworthy ("a man of unclean lips"). Isaiah also sees the people as sinful before God, people whose speech and hearing is defiled. It's because the Lord knows the humility and repentence of Isaiah's heart, we would suppose, that the Lord calls him. The Lord does then take away his sin, touching his lips with a burning coal -- to enable him to be worthy to speak the words that God is going to give him.

What should we make of these words (just as they are found in Isaiah):
Tell them
.....Hear and hear, but don't understand;
.....look and look but never see what you are looking at!
Make the heart of this people fat and their ears heavy and shut their eyes! Otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart, and turn, and be healed." (SK translation) Have you ever heard someone talk like that?
.....Hear and hear, but don't understand;
.....look and look but never see what you are looking at!
I have. It's the way (in my experience) that very exasperated parents talk to their kids when the kids just won't listen! Parents will even say stuff like
.....Go ahead! Ruin your life if you want to! I don't care."
Why do parents say that kind of thing?

Obviously they don't mean what they are saying, or as some folk like to put it "don't mean it literally". In fact, in this case they mean more or less the opposite of what they are saying. What they really want -- often desperately -- is for the kids to change their minds ("repent", or "turn and be healed") and stop doing the stupid and destructive things they are up to. So why do they say "I don't care", and "just go ahead and ruin your life" or -- in the case of God's message for the people given to Isaiah, in effect "Fine with me. Just keep hearing my words and don't heed them, pay no attention, until the whole country is ruined!" (SK Translation)?

It's sarcasm, and the meaning is kind of like this: "I'm worn out talking to you, because you just don't listen. You're totally deaf, totally blind to what you're doing to yourself. So what's the point of saying anything?" It's a last ditch attempt to get recalcitrant, stubborn kids to wake up and see that something is wrong. Also by saying "Just go ahead and ruin your life if you want to. I don't care!" a parent is trying, somehow, to bring home to a kid that the point is not that the parent is fussy, or strict, or has values the kid may or may not care for, but that apart from all that what the kid is doing is going to lead to disaster, to ruin for the kid's life, and it's the kid who's going to have to pay the price, to suffer for his stupid moves, ultimately, not just the parents.

Of course, I know that there are parents -- even ones who may say something like this -- who are in fact unreasonable and wrong in what they say. I'm not defending any particular set of parents or taking sides in any particular disagreement of children with their parents. I'm just trying to explain what this kind of language means, as a way of understanding what the kind of words that which God gives to Isaiah might mean.

I believe that these words given to Isaiah are a last ditch attempt, on God's part, to wake the people up, and turn them around. A piece of sarcasm which aims to get people to see -- if they can understand at all -- that departing from God's ways is (whatever else it is) something that is going to bring disaster upon themselves.


Jesus' use of Isaiah's words: context and structure

There's lots to be said about Jesus' words in this passage in Mark 4.

The Passage Itself: Full (local) context of verses 11 & 12

...1 And he began again to teach by the sea side:
...and there was gathered unto him a great multitude,
...so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea;
...and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.

...2 And he taught them many things by parables,
...and said to them in his teaching,
3-9 Listen; Behold, a sower went out to sow: And it happened, as he sowed, some seed fell by the way side, and the birds of the air came and devoured it. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and yielded fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundredfold. And he said to them, He that has ears to hear, let him hear.
10-13 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked him about the parable.
And he said to them, To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God:
but to them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
so 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.
And he said to them, Don't you know this parable? How then will you know any of the parables? 14-20 The sower sows the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have, Satan comes immediately, and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.



21-23 And he said to them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.

24-25 And he said to them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye measre, it shall be measured to you: and to you who hear shall more be given. For he that has, to him shall be given: and he that doesn't have, from him shall be taken even that which he has.

26 And he said, So the kingdom of God is as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knows not how. For the earth brings forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

30-32 And he said, What shall we liken the kingdom of God to? or what comparison shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it grows up, and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out great branches; so that the birds of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.

...33-34 And with many such parables spoke he the word to them,
...as they were able to hear it.
...But without a parable he did not speak to them:
...and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.

The Structure of the Passage

This is a body of teaching -- the first main block of Jesus' teaching in Mark's gospel -- which, Mark emphasizes, consists of parables. The passage divides into two main halves:
(1) There is a single long parable and it's explanation, with the words which puzzle you -- about why Jesus teaches in parables -- including the quote from Isaiah 6 sandwiched in between. (Verses 3-20), of which, in the explanation, Jesus says "The sower sows the word"; and
(2) there is a collection of (four) shorter parables and sayings (Verses 21-32). This includes the candle (21-23), measuring out grain (or something that's measured out) (24-25), the growing seed (26-29), and the mustard seed (30-32) In the passage, these two main blocks of teaching are bookended by the statements (v. 2 and vv. 34-35) which emphasize that he is teaching in parables.

1. ... Jesus went to the seaside and taught the crowd
2. ... He taught them in parables
........3-20. . The long parable
....................3-9 The parable itself
....................10-13 Discussion of why Jesus teaches in parables
....................14-20 The explanation
........21-32 .The additional parables
....................21-23 The candle
....................24-25 How you measure
....................26-29 The growing seed
....................30-32 The mustard seed
33-34 He taught them everything in parables, as they were able to hear it, and explained to the disciples.


The somewhat strange passage in which Jesus gives an explanation: what's "alone"?
We still need to think about what Jesus means in saying the thing that He says. There's a lot to think about there, IMO.
However first we need to observe one more thing about the passage in which Jesus discusses the parables.
10-13 And when he was alone, then those who were about him with the twelve asked him about the parable. And he said to them,
To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but to them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
so 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.
And he said to them, Don't you understand this parable? and how then will you understand any parable?

It's important, I think, to understand just what it is that Mark is trying to convey when he says "When Jesus was alone" He was asked by questions by "those who were about Him, together with the twelve." Mark is using "alone" in an unusual way here, which seems to emphasize that Jesus was "alone" not in the sense that everyone had gone away, but in the sense that not everyone was there but also it was not just Jesus and the twelve (let alone just Jesus): there were others present also. Because Jesus says "to you it is given to know the secret of the Kingdom of God" it might be useful to think about who these people were to whom the "secret" was being "given" (as opposed to "those outside") in order to see what Jesus is getting at in His reply to their question.


Thinking This Important Passage Through as a Whole
We can now think about the passage in Mark 4 as a whole!
But I've run out of time!

Really, that's good, because I've only laid the groundwork for examining the passage systematically.
That's preliminary to trying to decide what it means.
Most of what I've done so far is just a bit of prep-work, to help whoever-wants-to read the passage carefully
-- just as we should generally do with the Scripture!
I'll come back and give my interpretation. But in the meantime, I'd like to know what others think!!


Thanks again for your questions, and your presence on the board, Dan!

In friendship,
Scruffy Kid