The Signs of the Times


November 7, 1892

Christ's Use of Parables


The Lord has momentous truths to reveal to those who would understand the things of the Spirit. His lessons are for all, and adapted to the needs of all. While his lessons are clothed in language so simple that a child might understand them, the truth is so deep that the most learned may well be charmed, and worship the Author of matchless wisdom. Though the wisest may find abundant food for thought in his simplest utterance, the humblest may comprehend his truth, and appropriate his promises to the need of the soul. Jesus taught men for the purpose of arousing desire to understand the things of God, that they might behold the excellence of the divine character, and make application for the righteousness of Christ, in which they might stand accepted before the Lord Jehovah. Have you a sense of want in your soul? Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness? Then this is an evidence that Christ has wrought upon your heart, and created this sense of need in your soul, in order that he may be sought unto to do for you, through the endowment of the Holy Spirit, those things which it is impossible for you to do for yourself. ST November 7, 1892, par. 1

Among the multitudes that listened to the words of Christ, were scribes and Pharisees, Sadducees and elders, rabbis and priests, Herodians and rulers. Most of this class were proud, world-loving, bigoted, ambitious men, who loved the praise of men more than the approval of God; for they were ignorant both of the Scriptures and of the power of God. In their ignorance they did not scruple to supplant the teaching of the prophets with their own expositions of the word of God. They wrested the Scripture from its relation to truth, and made it serve the cause of error. But they were exceedingly jealous of their position as teachers of the people, and looked with hatred upon the divine Teacher, who taught as one having authority. Above all things they desired to find something whereby they might bring accusation against him; and for this purpose they set spies upon his track to see if they could not catch something from his lips that would cause his condemnation, and forever silence him who seemed to draw the world after him. But Jesus knew the hearts of all, and understood the character of the men who watched him with malignant looks from the multitudes that gathered to hear his words, and he presented truth in such a way that they could find nothing whereby they might bring his case before the Sanhedrin. In parables he exposed the hypocrisy and wicked works of those who occupied high positions, and clothed in imagery truth of so cutting a character that had it been spoken in direct denunciation, they would have put an end to his ministry. But while he evaded the treacherous spies, he made truth so clear that error was manifested, and the honest in heart could readily discern what was truth. ST November 7, 1892, par. 2

The parables of Christ have been placed on record, and to the honest, diligent searcher after truth, their meaning will be made plain, their mystery unveiled. Those who will not seek for truth as for hidden treasure, make manifest the fact that they do not sincerely desire to know what is truth. Christ still says to his true followers, “It is given to you to know the mystery of the kingdom of heaven.” “Whosoever hath to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance.” He who responds to the drawing of Christ, will be found inquiring as to what is truth, that his feet may be directed into the way of righteousness. Christ is drawing all men, but all do not respond to his drawing. Those who yield their will to God's will, who are willing to follow where the Spirit of God may lead, who receive the light and walk therein, will seek for still more of heavenly enlightenment, and “shall have more abundance.” But whoever resists the drawing of the Spirit of God, and refuses to walk in the light, choosing to walk in the path of his own selecting, will not be compelled to yield his stubborn will, or be forced to walk in the path of peace and holiness. Those who follow this course are of those who, having eyes, see not, but are blind to the terrible results of their choice, and walk in sparks of their own kindling, and shall lie down in sorrow. ST November 7, 1892, par. 3

Isaiah prophesied of the moral darkness that would enshroud those who were lifted up in their own esteem; 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.” The Jewish leaders had corrupted their hearts with vain imaginations, with earthly, sensual, and devilish knowledge; and although they professed to believe in the typical sacrifice that had prefigured the Lamb of God through all the centuries since the fall of man, they set themselves in opposition to Christ, and rejected the Light of the world. As a pall of death they covered their souls with error; and though Christ presented to them the inner meaning of the Jewish economy, that they might discern that he was the great Antitype, they closed their eyes, that they might not perceive, and hardened their hearts, that they might not understand. ST November 7, 1892, par. 4

Jesus was the originator of the religion of the Jews, and how clearly could he open to the mind the significance of every shadow and symbol, and reveal the relation of the whole system to himself. That which had been misinterpreted, he set before them in its clear connection with truth, and made plain the glory of the Levitical service. He sought to open to men the fact that the Jewish system of religion presented in types and shadows the whole mystery of the gospel. The service of the past was in no way to be held in contempt; for in Christ, type met antitype, and shadow substance. ST November 7, 1892, par. 5

The lessons that Christ presented in his words of truth are like precious pearls; for in them he bestowed upon men an inestimable possession. Much that he taught is still but dimly understood, and the rubbish of error covers many a glorious gem of truth. These jewels of truth should be searched for with as great diligence as men search for hidden treasure. Those who know the love of Christ should regard it as did the man who found the hidden treasure, and for joy thereof went and sold all that he had, that he might buy the field, and dig over every inch of it to discover the rich veins of gold and silver. The teaching of Christ is more precious than any mine of earth can be, and it demands more zeal on our part to seek for the gems of truth than does any possession we can secure in the world. We should put forth most strenuous efforts to understand the full meaning of the truth he would convey to the mind in parables or maxims. Let him who would comprehend spiritual things, dig deep in the mines of truth. ST November 7, 1892, par. 6