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A Literal Translation of the New Testament






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THE PARABLE OF THE LOST THINGS

By Hal Dekker

Luke 15:1-32

I very strongly suggest that the reader review the scripture references I include in parentheses, ( ). I believe those verses are necessary to understand these parables, and the points I try to make. To include those verses within this essay would make it to voluminous. Please read them.

A manner of speaking Jesus Christ used most often to teach spiritual Truth to his disciples, and then anyone else who had "ears", especially after a certain point in his ministry, was the figure of speech known as Parable.

Mark 4:33 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) [in] many (pollai) parables (parabolais) similar to these (toiautais) he was speaking (elalei) to them (autois) the (ton) Word (logon), down according to as (kathōs) they were inherently powered (edunanto) to hear (akouein).

Mark 4:34 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) apart from (chōris) a parable (parabolē) he was absolutely not speaking (ouk elalei) to them (autois)!

But (de) down on (kat') his own (idian), he was letting loose (epeluen) all things (panta) to the (tois) disciples (mathētais) of him (autou)!

The ability of Jesus’ disciples and other audiences to understand The Word he taught came down to their inherent power to "hear". To those who had no inherent power to hear, spiritual ability to discern spiritual things, Jesus’ method of teaching appeared to deliberately hide spiritual Truth in a story riddle. Jesus Christ indicates to us that "ears to hear" are required to understand his parables, and therefore to understand spiritual things, which are Truth (John 17:17; Mat. 11:15’ 13:9,43; Mark 4:9, 4:23, 7:16; Luke 8:8, 14:35). Apostle Paul, through revelation from Jesus Christ, explains to us this concept:

1 Cor. 2:14 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) a soul-based (psuchikos) mortal (anthrōpos) can absolutely not cause himself to receive (ou dechetai) the things (ta) of the (tou) Spirit (pneumatos) of the (tou) God (theou), because (gar) it is (estin) moronism (mōria) to Him (autō)!

And (kai) he can absolutely not inherently power himself (ou dunatai) to know (gnōnai) [them], because (hoti) it is judged up350 (anakrinetai) spiritually (pneumatikōs)!

Jesus Christ, through apostle Paul, makes it absolutely clear that a mortal without holy Spirit ability, a soul-based mortal, neither can cause himself to receive (dechetai) the things of the Spirit, nor can he inherently power himself to know (gnōnai) the things of the Spirit. They can’t receive or know God’s Word.  Notice holy Spirit’s use of the two emphatic particles of negation (ou), which verbally pound the podium to drive the point home.

Rom. 8:8 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) the ones (hoi) being (ontes) in (en) flesh (sarki) can absolutely not inherently power themselves (ou dunantai) to be agreeable (aresai) to God (theō).

Rom. 8:9 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) you (humeis) are (este) absolutely not (ouk) in (en) flesh (sarki), BUT (alla), in (en) Spirit (pneumati), if so be it (eiper) Spirit (pneuma) of God (theou) homesteads (oikei) in (en) you (humin)!

But (de) if (ei) anyone (tis) absolutely does not hold (ouk echei) Spirit (pneuma) of Christ (Christos), this one (outos) is (estin) absolutely not (ouk) of Him (autou)!

"you" – In Rom. 1:7 apostle Paul addresses his letter, "To all the ones being in Rome, beloved of God, called ones, saints." I believe we can conclude that the revelation from Jesus Christ Paul gave to the called ones, saints in Rome, is Truth for any called ones, saints anywhere, even you or me here now.

Rom. 8:10 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) if (ei) Christ (Christos) [is] in (en) you (humin), truly (men), the (to) body (sōma) [is] dead (nekron) through (dia) [the sake] of sin (hamartian)!

But (de) the (to) Spirit (pneuma) [is] life (zōē) through (dia) [the sake] of righteousness (dikaiosunēn).

Rom. 8:11 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) if (ei) the (to) Spirit (pneuma) of the one (tou) having aroused (egeirantos) Jesus (Iēsoun) out (ek) of dead ones (nekrōn) homesteads (oikei) in (en) you (humin), the one (ho) having aroused (egeiras) Christ (Christon) out (ek) of dead ones (nekrōn) shall make alive (zōopoiēsei) the (ta) death-doomed (thnēta) bodies (sōmata) of you (humōn) also (kai), through (dia) the (to) in-housed (enoikoun) Spirit (pneuma) of Him (autou) in (en) you (humin).

This Spirit of him is us is the inherent power to hear (Mark 4:33) and understand parables. The Spirit of Christ is spiritual ability in a believing disciple. It is life in us now, and it will raise up our death-doomed bodies out of dead ones in the future.

 

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What Is A Parable, And Its Purpose?

"PARABLES AND ALLEGORIES

The word ‘parable’ (Gk. parabolē) by derivation means ‘putting things side by side’, and is similar to the word ‘allegory’, which by derivation means ‘saying things in a different way’. The object of teaching by parables and allegories is the same. It is to enlighten the listener by presenting him with interesting illustrations, from which he can draw out for himself moral and religious truth. The value of such a method of teaching is two-fold. First, it makes the assimilation of such truth easier, for ‘truth embodied in a tale shall enter in at lowly doors’; and secondly, the truth so learned is more likely to remain fixed in the memory, for by drawing his own deductions from the illustrations the learner is in effect teaching himself. But, while ‘parable’ and ‘allegory’ are by derivation and meaning almost indistinguishable, in common usage ‘parable’ has come to be limited to the somewhat protracted simile or the short story, designed to inculcate a single truth or answer a single question. ‘Allegory’, on the other hand, denotes the more elaborate tale, in which a comparison is to be found in all or most of the details." (12Tasker, 932)

 

E. W. Bullinger, perhaps the greatest 20th century Biblical scholar, in his wonderful work titled ‘Figures of Speech Used In The Bible’, explains the God-designed purpose for the use of the figure of speech Parable:

"PARABOLA; or, PARABLE:

i.e., CONTINUED SIMILE

Comparison by Continued Resemblance

Par-ab’-o-la. Greek, παραβολή (pa-rab’-o-lee), a placing beside for the purpose of comparison, from παρα (para), beside, and βάλλειν (ballein), to throw or cast.

The classical use of the word was for one of the subdivisions of παραδειγμα (paradeigma), an example, viz., a presentation of an analogous case by way of illustration.

In the new testament instances of the word, it is used of a story with a hidden meaning, without pressing, in every detail, the idea of a comparison.

Parables are used from the resemblance of one thing to another. The thing, or history, or story may be true or imaginary; but the events must be possible, or likely to have happened; at any rate those who hear must believe that they are possible events, though it is not necessary that the speaker should believe them.

One word of caution, however, we must give: and that is concerning the object of parables. The common idea is that they are intended to make things clear and plain. Hence every young minister and Sunday-school teacher turns to the parables as though they were the simplest things in the world. Whereas they were spoken that the truth might be veiled from those who "seeing, see not: and hearing, hear not." See Mat. 13:10-17. Hence they are among the most difficult portions of God’s Word." (5Bullinger, 751-753)

Dr. Bullinger explains that the common idea is that parables "are intended to make things clear and plain", in the sense that this common idea is wrong. But I believe he needs to make a distinction for whom it is wrong. I believe this idea is incorrect for those who have not received the gift of holy Spirit, but absolutely correct for those who have received the gift of holy Spirit, who have received the Paraclete, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth. Therefore, Parables must be intended specifically for those who have "ears to hear".

To those who have the ability to understand spiritual things, a parable is a neat and orderly method of laying out the spiritual elements of scripture buildup, which throughout the story, all come together to impart spiritual understanding. To those with "ears", I believe a parable is very well suited to explaining spiritual truth; to thoroughly explaining the conceptual elements which build up to the point or points of Jesus’ story teachings. So then, what is the overall concept or point to Jesus’ teaching in parables? Isn’t it to make known God his Father? Isn’t the whole point of Jesus’ coming to make known God the heavenly Father and His spiritual things, and His heart’s desire for mortalkind’s redemption and wholeness, as His children, that were lost through Adam and Eve’s sin?

The primary purpose of Jesus Christ’s coming, along with bringing mortalkind wholeness, was to make known God, the things of God, spiritual things. Jesus’ teachings were to reveal spiritual truths, related to his purpose for coming, and the results desired and produced in those who would receive him!

Looking For A Parable’s Points

Tasker says the reader of parables should not attempt to make ethical, moral or economic points out of the interpretation of a parable, but to look for the spiritual lessons concerning the things of God, within the parable.

"Equally mistaken is the attempt to bring ethical or economic considerations to bear upon the interpretation of the parables, when such considerations are in fact irrelevant. For example, the parable of the unjust steward (Lk. xvi. 1-9) teaches that the future matters, and that men must prepare themselves for it; but the question of the morality of the action taken by the fictitious steward has no bearing on the main lesson of the story. Similarly it is beside the point to ask whether the man who discovered a great treasure in a field was morally justified in obtaining the purchase of the field for much less than he now knew it to be worth (Mt. xiii. 44). The lesson of the parable is that no treasure is comparable in value to the treasure of the Kingdom of God, and that the sudden ‘discovery’ of it is a matter for great joy. Once again, it is futile to suggest that the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Mt. xx. 1-16) throws any light whatsoever on the problem of wages. It illustrates the goodness of God, who deals with men graciously and not strictly in accordance with their merits." (12Tasker, 932)

In Mark 4:3-23 is a record of Jesus teaching the parable of the Sower. In this record he makes several comments about the purpose of speaking in parables, and for whom they are intended.

Mark 4:10 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) when (hote) he caused himself to become (egeneto) down (kata) alone (monas), they were inquiring (ērōtōn) of him (auton), the ones (hoi) around (peri) him (auton) together with (sun) the (tois) twelve (dōdeka), [about] the (tas) parables (parabolas).

Mark 4:11 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) he was saying (elegen) to them (autois), "To you (humin) the (to) mystery (mustērion) of the (tēs) Kingdom932 (basileias) of the (tou) God (theou) has been given (dedotai).

But (de) to those (ekeinois), to the (tois) outsiders (exō), everything (panta) of the (ta) [mystery] is caused to become (ginetai) in (en) to parables (parabolais),

"To you the mystery of the Kingdom of the God has been given." – To those to whom the mystery of the Kingdom of the God has not been given, likewise they have not been given the spiritual ability to understand it.

Mark 4:12 (LIT/UBS4) in order that (hina) they being ones seeing (blepontes), they may look at (blepōsin) [them] and (kai) they may not see (mē idōsin) [them];

and (kai) being ones hearing (akouontes), they may hear (akouōsin) [them] and (kai) they may not put [them] together (mē suniōsin).

Whether or not in time (mēpote) they may turn back (epistrepsōsin) and (kai) [their sin] may be let go (aphethē) to them (autois)."

"see, hear and put it together" – Properly determine the spiritual counterparts to the physical elements of the parabolic story.

"Whether or not in time they may turn back and [their sins] may have been let go to them." – They are not to be given the ability to see, hear and put together parables until they turn in their hearts (repent) to God and receive forgiveness of their sins. Mortals who have not repented toward God in their hearts think they can go to God’s Word and understand it. But they cannot, because unless they repent, God will not give them the spiritual ability to see, hear and put it together. If they would repent they would become eligible to receive forgiveness of sins, and then receive the spiritual ability that Jesus came to make available, the new birth above, the baptism in the gift of *holy Spirit (Mat. 3:11).

*The coming of the gift of holy Spirit was, and is known as the Great Mystery prophecy (Rom. 11:25; Eph. 1:9, 3:3-9, 5:32, 6:19; Col. 2:2, 4:3; 1 Tim. 3:9), the secret mystery (Rom. 16:25; 1 Cor. 2:7; Col. 1:26-27) that Joel (2:28-32) prophesied, and what Jesus called the Promise of the Father (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4, 2:33,39; Gal. 3:14; Eph. 1:13, 3:6; 2 Tim. 1:1).

Mark 4:13 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) he says (legei) to them (autois), "Have you absolutely not seen (ouk oidate) the (tēn) parable (parabolēn) [of] this (tautēn)?  And (kai) how (pōs) shall you cause yourselves to know (gnōsesthe) all (pasas) the (tas) parables (parabolas)?"

Without spiritual ability how can any mortal understand any of the parables? In Mark 4 Jesus went on to personally explain to his disciples what were the spiritual things to which each of the physical elements of the parable corresponded.

The sower is anyone speaking God’s Word.

The seed sown is God’s Word.

The way where the seed was sown is in mortal’s hearts.

The birds which ate down the seed are Satan and his demon spirits.

The rocky places where the seed was sown are mortal’s hard hearts.

The places of thorns where the seed was sown are mortal’s hearts filled with cares and desires for worldly things, which choke out the Word of God.

The beautiful ground where the seed was sown is in the hearts of mortals who subjectively receive God’s Word, believe it and act upon it to bring forth fruits of righteousness.

This example using the parable of the Sower illustrates how the point of Jesus parables is not in the meaning of the physical elements of the story, but in the understanding of their spiritual counterparts which they represent. The point in the parable of the Sower is not about how the work of sowing seed goes for a farmer sometimes, but about the various conditions of Mortal’s hearts toward God and His Word, and that a beautiful heart (beautiful ground) (in God’s opinion) is one that receives and believes His Word and uses it to produce fruits of righteousness.

To those who have been given the mystery of the Kingdom of the God, to whom has been given the spiritual ability also to see, hear and put it together, parables work wonderfully well to explain the elements of a spiritual subject and concept.

Method of Interpretation

I strongly believe and recommend to you, that all of Jesus’ parables and prophecies, just like all old covenant prophecies, should be interpreted in respect to all the new covenant revelation light from Jesus Christ which can be shed upon them.  Any believing disciple’s ability to cut uprightly the Father’s Word (2 Tim. 2:15) to correctly interpret a parable, must come through the Spirit of Truth within them, the Paraclete which Jesus Christ said would come to them (John 14:16-17, 26, 15:26-27, 16:12-16; 1 John 4:6).

John 14:26 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) the (ho) Paraclete (paraklētos), the (to) Spirit (pneuma), the (to) holy one (hagion) which (ho) the (ho) Father (patēr) shall send (pempsei) in (en) the (tō) name (onomati) of me (mou), that one (ekeinos) shall teach (didaxei) you (humas) all things (panta), and (kai) it shall bring under remembrance (hupomnēsei) all (panta) things which (ha) I have enunciated (eipon) to you (humin).

Jesus said to his disciples that after the Paraclete came to them it would give them the spiritual ability, because it "shall teach you all things, and shall bring under your memory all things which I have enunciated to you." This implies, as a prerequisite, that the disciple have in his mind the things Jesus said, otherwise the Paraclete may have nothing to "bring under your memory". It follows that a disciple with a mind filled with God’s Word has more to draw upon when reading parables, from which to "see, hear and put together" spiritual correspondences.

I strongly believe it is up to each and every believing disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ to determine for him or herself what they believe God’s Word means to them utilizing their own personal gift of holy Spirit given to them. I believe no disciple can say their interpretation of a parable is absolutely correct, since it is still impossible in this Grace dispensation for any disciple to be infallible.

I strongly believe in starting with a verified English translation of the original language source texts, so error isn’t learned or taught. Therefore, this is my personal translation work, which I can take confidence in as God’s authentic Word.