Hiding the Truth in Plain Sight — Understanding God’s Methods of Hiding Information in the Bible! Pt 4

parable(Ver 2.1)  This is part four of a series of lessons on methods that God has used to conceal information in the Bible for us to find.  By studying these methods we will greatly increase our ability to understand the truth of God’s Word.  I have been attempting to go through the techniques that God has used to conceal spiritual information using definitions, terms and descriptions that are not complicated or laced with educated phraseology that is intended to be studied only by the elect doctorate types.  I am using plain language and common terms that hopefully anyone can understand.    If you did not read this series from the beginning I would strongly suggest that you go back and start with “Part 1“.  I have covered a lot of good information and it will not be repeated in the same level of detail.

Technique 4:  The Use of Parables

Eze 17:1  And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Eze 17:2  Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel;

Another widely used technique found in the Bible is the designed use of parables.   God purposely uses parables in the Bible to conceal and reveal spiritual truth to us.  According to the Bible a parable is a sort of riddle or a puzzle.  You may have noticed while reading the Gospels that Jesus taught a lot in parables.  Many times parables would give powerful spiritual truths using the terms of natural things like, seeds, farms, fields, wheat, tares, leaven, weddings, a bride, a groom, etc.  Jesus actually fulfilled prophecy by teaching in parables.   You can clearly see in this next verse that God prophesied something very profound about the words that Jesus would speak to us:

Mat 13:35  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

To speak things that have been kept secret since the world was established, is the key reason for why Jesus spoke in parables to us.  We can clearly understand that these parables must hold some very complex secret information within them, but yet people do not still appreciate their value, because they do not fully comprehend their meanings.  There are over 40 different parables that Jesus used to teach people with in the Gospels.  Some parables are repeated in multiple books of the Bible and some parables only occur in one book of the Bible.  How many of these do you know and understand?  I will give you a list of parables later in this lesson, and you should spend time studying them because they hold some of the greatest spiritual secrets of the Bible within them.  The words of the prophet referred to in Matthew 13:35 are recorded from the book of Psalms and we should go back and read this verse for confirmation:

Psa 78:2  I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:

We can see some powerful truth in this verse of prophecy.  It says in speaking of Jesus that He would open his mouth and speak in parables.  A parable is defined to be “mental superiority”.   This word says that it uses “metaphors” and “similes” to convey an implied hidden message.  There is one word in this verse that describes this type of speaking and it is the Hebrew word H2420 which is translated as “dark saying”, and this word has the following definition in the Strong’s.

H2420

From H2330; a puzzle; hence a trick, conundrum, sententious maxim: dark saying (sentence, speech), hard question, proverb, riddle.

That is a truly amazing definition and is certainly very relevant to the subject of God hiding the truth in plain sight.  You see these parables describe spiritual truths in a puzzle or riddle form.  This means that you might be able to see some of the truths on the surface but the really deep stuff is hidden from our natural view and human understanding.  This makes the usage of parables a very tricky method of concealing information in the Bible.

Pro 1:6  To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

One time Jesus said to his disciples, to you it has been given to understand, but to them I speak in parables (Mark 4:11).  So obviously this was a technique that both concealed and revealed spiritual truths.  A parable is always something that is “like” something else.  It is a reference to a natural thing that has deep spiritual truths attached to it.  I do not know how many parables there are in the entire Bible.  I do know there are a lot of them.  Here is a quick example of a parable:

Mat 13:47  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:

So you can observe some similarities between symbolic references and parables.  Both are techniques that use natural things to describe spiritual realities.  A symbol can be a single word used in a story to conceal a single spiritual reality and a parable is usually a story that conveys and relates several spiritual truths together.   In this verse in Matthew Jesus is speaking about the kingdom of heaven and tells the people that heaven is like a fisherman’s net that is cast into the sea and it brings out every kind of fish that it can pull up.  Since Jesus was speaking to a nation of people that understood fishing and fishing methods this was an interesting puzzle word picture for them to think about.  How can the kingdom of heaven be like a fisherman’s net?  It was a puzzle and a very descriptive reality of what was going to happen in the spiritual realm in the near future.  There are several elements in this one verse parable.  We have the sea, the fisherman, a boat, the fish and the net and each of these must represent some key to the correct meaning of the story.  The sea must represent the world that we live in; the fish must represent the people who are saved out of the world.  The net must be the Word of God.  The fisherman must be the preachers and the angels of God.  God was telling the people that the new kingdom of God would consist of every nation and every kind of people in the world.  God was telling them that there is not favoritism with Him and He loves everyone the same.  There are many hidden inferred meanings within this parable and it is a great subject to study to learn about spiritual things.  This was truly a puzzle to their natural thinking religious minds and the people of Israel clearly did not understand what God was saying to them.

So we have talked a little bit about what a parable is, but let’s address what a parable is not so that we can clearly understand the difference.  A parable is never a story of a specific named individual, place or actual event within history.  That would be an allegory.  An allegory if you recall is an actual story that occurred in human history that also has a spiritual meaning attached to it.  Some ignorant people have tried to make Jesus’ story of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16 to be a parable and even go so far to try to say hell is not a real place, but it is only symbolic of a spiritual place of torment.  I don’t know how people can be so stupid, but it takes all kinds, I guess.  However what you must understand is that Jesus is not a liar, if He tells you a story of someone specifically named Lazarus this is not symbolism and this is not a parable.  Lazarus must have existed as a real historical man.  It would be a physical lie to tell you of something that did not specifically exist or actually happen and try to pass it off as symbolism.  Jesus never says “hell” is like a rich man and a beggar in this chapter of Luke.  But, if Jesus said, the Kingdom of God is like a ….” and gave you a natural example without naming names or specific places, dates or events, then it would be a legitimate parable and a legal method of communicating without telling a lie.  The Bible clearly says that it is impossible for God to lie (Heb 6:18).  Be smart and learn the difference between a lie and a parable.  Parables do not contain the names of any real people.  A parable is only a story of nameless and anonymous things that can relate to a spiritual reality.

There are very few examples of Jesus explaining a parable’s meaning to us.  However, we can see that He does give us some examples of correct interpretation for us to follow.  Jesus taught that of all the parables that He gave to us, the parable of the sower was the most important one for us to understand and he talks about this in 3 gospels (Matthew 13:3, Mark 4:3, Luke 8:5).  God uses several key farming elements to describe spiritual things to us.  There is a farmer who sows seed.  There is seed and there are 7 different types of soil that the seed falls in.  There are also seed enemies, like birds of the air and weeds.  Everything in this parable has deep spiritual meanings attached to them.  Jesus taught us that the Word of God was the seed.  Jesus taught us that the soil represented the hearts of men and women in the earth.  The birds of the air were demons and spiritual forces that come to steal the Word of God from the hearts of men.   If you have never studied this parable, then you should do so immediately.  Jesus said it is the key to understand every parable.  I only went through a few examples and their explanations.  I have covered this subject in other lessons if you want to learn more.  I’ll end the discussion of parables with this verse found in Ecclesiastes:

Ecc 12:9  And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.

You see this verse speaks of a wise man of God who teaches God’s people truth and diligently seeks it out.  The verse ends in the term to “set in order” the words found in the puzzle.   The word translated here as “proverbs” is the same Hebrew word for “parable”.  There is a clear implication that there is a puzzle and a riddle to solve and someone is responsible for solving it.  One of the ways that God hides things in the Bible is by using parables and proverbs, dark sayings that have hidden meanings.  These are stories and descriptive words of natural things that describe powerful concealed spiritual truths.  Parables often times involve metaphors and metaphoric expressions.  These are usually used in communications that convey new ideas by using objects and things that the listener is already familiar with.  We can also understand that if you are not familiar with “farming” then Jesus using a farming metaphor to describe the kingdom of God will not help you to understand what is being taught until you do become familiar with the natural process of farming.  Therefore, parables conceal and reveal information simultaneously.

There are so many parables throughout the Bible and you must locate them and then correctly interpret them.  To quote a famous movie line “Are you the one or should we look for another?”.  God bless you until next time when I continue talking about other methods that God has used in hiding information in the Bible.

Parables in the Gospels

Scripture(s)

Parable

Matthew 7:6 Parable of the Pearl and Swine
Matthew 7:24; Luke 6:48; Parable of the Wise Man Who Built His House
Matthew 11:16-17; Luke 7:32; Parable of Children Sitting in the Markets
Matthew 13:3; Mark 4:3; Luke 8:5 Parable of the Sower
Matthew 13:24; Parable of the Wheat and Tares
Matthew 13:31; Mark 4:31; Luke 13:19 Parable of the Mustard Seed
Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20-21 Parable of the Leavened Bread
Matthew 13:44; Parable of the Treasure in a Field
Matthew 13:45 Parable of Merchant Seeking Pearls
Matthew 13:47; Parable of the Fisherman’s Net
Matthew 13:55; Parable of the Householder’s Treasure
Matthew 18:23; Parable of the King’s Servants
Matthew 20:1; Parable of the Hired Workers
Matthew 21:33; Mark 12:1; Luke 20:9 Parable of the Vineyard Leased Out
Matthew 22:2 Parable of the marriage of the King’s Son
Matthew 23:27; Parable of the Whited Sepulchers
Matthew 24:32; Mark 13:28; Luke 21:29; Parable of the Fig Tree
Matthew 25:10; Parable of the Ten Virgins
Matthew 25:14; Parable of the Talents and Servants
Mark 3:24; Parable of a Kingdom Divided
Mark 3:27; Parable of the Strong Man’s House
Mark 4:26 Parable of the Man who Casts Seed into the Ground
Mark 13:34 Parable of the Man taking a Far Journey
Mark 13:34 Parable of the New and Old Cloths
Luke 5:37 Parable of the New Wine In Old Wine Skins
Luke 5:39 Parable of the New and Old Wine
Luke 6:39 Parable of the Blind Leading the Blind
Luke 10:30-36; Parable of the Good Samaritan
Luke 12:16 Parable of the Rich Man who Laid Up Treasure for Himself
Luke 12:36 Parable of the Men who Wait for their Lord to return
Luke 13:6 Parable of the Fig Tree without Fruit
Luke 13:35 Parable of the Shut Door
Luke 14:8 Parable of the Wedding Seating Arrangement
Luke 14:12 Parable of the Feast and the Poor
Luke 14:16 Parable of the Great Supper
Luke 14:28 Parable of the Cost of the Tower
Luke 14:31 Parable of the King Going to Battle
Luke 14:34 Parable of the Salt that Lost Its Flavor
Luke 15:4 Parable of the Lost Sheep
Luke 15:8 Parable of the Woman with 10 Pieces of Silver
Luke 15:11 Parable of the Prodigal Son
Luke 16:1 Parable of the Rich Man and Steward Who Wasted Mammon
Luke 17:7 Parable of the Servant in the Field
Luke 18:2 Parable of the Judge and the Widow Woman
Luke 18:10 Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee
Luke 19:13 Parable of the Rich Man with 10 Servants & 10 pounds
John 10:1 Parable of the Sheepfold and the Gate
John 10:7 Parable of the Sheep Door
John 10:11 Parable of the Good Shepherd

If you would like to continue reading this series of lessons, please continue with “Part 5“.

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About agapegeek

Using the Bible to understand the Bible! Advanced Bible study for mature Chrisitians who want to grow.

Posted on March 3, 2010, in Bible Interpretation, Keys to Understanding and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I really received a better understanding in this ,and would like to know more ,what denomination are you ,I need to learn more and would appreciate any more help in scripture .Than-you 🙂

    • Thank you for your time reading and commenting. I am not affiliated with any denomination in particular. I am a firm believer that denominations divide the body of Christ in too many negative ways. I would prefer to call my self a Born Again Believer, a Christ follower, His disciple, Spirit led and Spirit filled. God Bless you.

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