The Purpose of Parables

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speak thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  Mat. 13:10-11 KJV

A parable: the Greek word parabole (GSN-<G3850>) is a comparison, Mk. 4:30 figure Heb. 9:9; 11:19 proverb Lk. 4:23 and an illustration; Mt. 13:3,10,13,18,24,31-36,53; 15:15; 21:33,45; 22:1; 24:32 they are extended similes.

They illustrate truth and make it clear by comparison with something that is already familiar. They impart instruction and rebuke without causing offense.  2Sam. 12 They create interest and hunger for further information. Mt. 13:10-17; 2Sam. 12  The stories are always true and the points illustrated must not be considered false and absurd. The historical background and the circumstances and occasion when uttered must be understood. Their words and details must be defined literally, not spiritually. The similarity between the point illustrated and the illustration must be noted.  The point illustrated is always stated with the parable or is clear by the occasion uttered.  The principles of interpretation are given by Jesus Himself. Any interpretation at variance with these principles or with the purpose of the parable is unscriptural.

Parables were used to reveal truth in a form intended to create more interest; Mt. 13:10-11,16 to make known new truths to interested hearers; Mt. 13:11-12,16-17 to make known mysteries by comparison with things already known; Mt. 13:11 to conceal truth from disinterested hearers and rebels at heart; Mt. 13:11-15 to add truth to those who love it and want more of it; Mt. 13:12 to take truth away from those who hate and do not want it; Mt. 13:12 and to fulfill prophecy. Mt. 13:14-17,35

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. Mat. 13:12-13 KJV

A mystery is a secret previously hidden but now made clear so that no mystery remains for anyone who will accept the truth as revealed. Mt. 13:19; 2Cor. 4:3-4  At present the realm of profession, for tares and wheat and good and bad are now mixed together in the same kingdom. At the end of this age the two classes will be separated. The professors will be sent to hell and the possessors of the kingdom will continue in its literal aspect forever. Mt. 13:40-43,49-50; Mat. 25:31-46; Rev. 20; Zech. 14  Believers increase in knowledge, but unbelievers go into more ignorance and darkness. Rom. 1:18-32; Tit. 1:15; 1Jn. 1:7; Jn. 3:16-20 This is a work of man’s own unbelief and rebellion and the work of satan. Mt. 13:15,19; 2Cor. 4:3-4  They can see, but they refuse to see; they can hear, but they refuse to hear; they are capable of understanding, but they refuse to accept the truth, desiring to hold on to their old religious traditions and professions in preference to walking in the light of new truth.

And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which said, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 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. Mat. 13:14-15 KJV

This Old Testament prophecy of Israel written by Isaiah 6:9-10 is fulfilled in Matthew 13:14-15 Jn. 12:39-40; Acts 28:25 describing the condition of their hearts as being made fat, stupid, insensible, inattentive, dull, and callous. Acts 28:27 The idea here is that the people became this way, little by little, until they were past normal, vigorous obedience to truth and righteousness, but they were failing to do, see, hear, and understand with the heart.  They missed out on the promised blessings of conversion, a change of direction, a new walk with God and of physical healing, a change of health, a new health in God. Ps. 91; 103:3; Mt. 8:17; Isa. 53; Rom. 8:11; 1Pet. 2:24; 3Jn. 1:2; Jas. 5:14-16; Mk. 16:17-18; Jn. 14:12-15; 15:7,16

All these things spoke Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spoke He not unto them: 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. Mat. 13:34-35 KJV