In Matthew chapter 13, Jesus describes the difficulty of those who do not believe in Him, and the impossibility that they can understand the depth of meaning in the Bible. Unbelievers are limited to the surface meaning of scripture, and the path that leads to salvation. It is the true believer who is Born Again by the Spirit of God, who can understand the deep things of God.
Beginning with the teaching of Parables, Jesus illustrates the different types of human heart that hear the Good News about Him.
Jesus emphasizes the fact that He conceals the truth of His word from people who deny the obvious. Paul describes the obvious in Romans 1:20: “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”
The existence of the universe, the earth, and humans on this planet, is intended by God as the most visible and tangible proof that God exists. Jesus and Paul state that this proof is obvious, but people “suppress truth,” in order to live as they please.
Because people who refuse to believe God exists, or only believe what they choose to believe about who God is, the truth of scripture is hidden from these persons. In the texts of Matthew chapter 13, Jesus will explain and define this reality. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus states that the Parable of the four soils is the key to understanding all of the other Parables.
Beginning in chapter 13 with the Parable of the Soils, Jesus first outlines the four types of human heart that hears the Good News about Him, and then how they respond.
In this Parable, the soil is the human heart; the sower is the Lord; the seed is the words that Jesus speaks with the message of salvation.
The Hard Heart: The Trampled Path
In Matthew 13:4, Jesus describes this first type of human heart as hard, like a path that many people walk on, over and over again. This heart is already hardened towards God, and when this person hears the Good News about Jesus, the hardness of their heart, causes these persons to immediately reject the Gospel. Jesus said that satan then comes to take away His words that promise eternal life.
The Superficial Heart: The Rocks
The second type of human heart is represented by soil that is rocky. This heart hears the message about Jesus, receives it, but because of the rocks, described by Jesus as, “problems or are persecution,” they fall away from Jesus and stop believing.
Jesus said that “in this word we will have tribulation” (problems and trials), it is a fact of life that everyone has difficulties. For some people who hear about Jesus and receive His invitation to follow Him, the problems and the persecution they experience because they believe in Him, is too much. These person quickly fall away from Jesus and they no longer believe.
Today there are many who share the Good News about Jesus during an evangelistic outreach while great crowds of people are gathered together. In the emotion and excitement of these events, people often make an emotional response, and pray a prayer of faith, but a year or two later, they are no longer following Jesus.
One of history’s great preachers during the eighteenth century, George Whitefield, was described by the newspapers of that day, as the: “marvel of the age.” Whitefield preached to thousands of people on two continents, and by the power of his words through the Holy Spirit, he preached more than 18,000 times to over 10 million people.
When Whitefield was asked how many people were saved during his crusades, he often replied, “We’ll see in a few years.”
He was not implying that people have to earn their salvation by works that are seen in the following years, but that time is the process that proves whether true salvation has taken place.
It is not difficult to make an emotional response to Jesus; it is another thing altogether, to continue to believe through all of life’s problems and difficulties. Many people fall away because they cannot endure the trials of their life and the persecution they experience from family and friends after they confess their trust in Jesus.
The Divided Heart: The Thorns
People with this type of heart, hear the word of God concerning Jesus, but “the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, prevent any lasting fruit to be produced.” After a confession of faith, many people find no room for Jesus in their life because they love the things of this world more than they love Jesus.
Having things is not a sin; but things having us can rob us of eternal life. When the Rich Young Ruler, came to Jesus and wanted to know what he must do to have eternal life, he said that he had kept the laws of God concerning the treatment of other human beings. When Jesus told him to “go and sell all that he had and give it to the poor,” this revealed that although his heart was right towards people in the world, it was not right towards God. The things that he owned had filled up every space, leaving no place for Jesus. He walked away sad, because he had so many things in this world.
It is likely that had the young man told Jesus that he would gladly sell everything to follow Him, the Lord would have told this young man that it was no longer necessary. It was not the things he had, but the fact that they were first and all important to him, that prevented him from following Jesus. If a person can truly keep Jesus first, then having things in this world is no hindrance.
The reason that many people reject Jesus today is that we live during a time when we can have many wonderful possessions in this world. It is the pursuit and occupation of all our thoughts and desires for things of the world, that often crowds out Jesus and harms the heart that wants to follow Him.
The Good Heart: Producing Fruit
The fourth heart is represented by people who hear the Good News about Jesus, receive it, believe it, and go on to follow Jesus for the rest of their life. Notice that only about twenty-five percent of the people who hear about Jesus, achieve this result. The problem is not with the message; there is no defect in who Jesus is or the reliability of the testimony from men who recorded His life in the New Testament; the defect is in the heart of people who cannot continue to believe.
Some people who are in this fourth category, also have doubts about Jesus. Everyone will likely have a crisis of faith when they consider giving up in following Jesus. The true believer comes back to Jesus after a time, and continues to follow Him for the rest of their life.
If we follow this thread in the New Testament, and read the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John, He said that those who are truly His, were “always His.” Because God knew all things from the beginning, He also knew who would be included in this fourth category of human hearts. He could see who would hear about Him, believe, and continue to believe for all of their life.
It was these persons that Jesus and Paul said, “were always his.” It was these persons that God chose for eternal life. If we knew who would be our true friends by seeing our entire life and the friends who would stay faithful to us for all of our life, we would choose them to be our friends forever, and want to live with them and enjoy fellowship with these friends, forever.
God has accomplished the same thing for Himself. He looks ahead in time and sees who will really love Him and choose to live with Him, believing all that He has said. People whom God saw would say they believe, but later stop believing, He did not choose.
It is not a difficulty concept to understand Divine Election, once we realize that it is based upon God’s complete knowledge of all things. The mistake that many people make is to inject the idea that people have no say in whether or not they are saved. God is sovereign and He chooses who will be saved and who will be lost, based upon what He knows. He knew who would exercise their right to choose and believe in Jesus for all their life, and who would not. Those who choose to believe, He chose for eternal life; those who decided not to trust in Jesus for their salvation, He did not choose for eternal life.
If we had no part in our choice to believe, we would not see the linear timeline that we are all living in, where people are deciding whether to believe or not believe.
There would be no need for God to allow the earth to go on in its present suffering because of sin and evil, if He already had decided who to save, and we had no choice in the matter. The reason that God has allowed this present time since Jesus’ death and resurrection, is to demonstrate His righteousness by giving us time to decide for, or against Jesus.
All creation is watching this process, and in the end, all creation will know that God was completely fair. Even though the Lord knew who would believe and who would not, He still gave everyone the opportunity to accept or reject Jesus. Even though God knew who would trust in Jesus for their salvation, and who would not, Jesus still died for the sins of the whole world.
Jesus wanted every person to know that even though He knew that some would never believe, He still loved these persons and died for their sins. God wanted everyone to know that He has loved us even before He made the universe, and He wanted us all to be with Him. He has left the decision for our salvation, in our hands. Anyone can be saved, no matter who they are or what they have done. Jesus’ death for all sins was sufficient to save the whole world. This is an incredible exhibition of the Eternal love of God.
The Context: Those Who Believe; Those Who Do Not
The Parable of the four soils exhibits for us, the real context of Matthew chapter 13. Jesus is going to tell us who is allowed to understand the depths of His words, and the true meaning of all the scriptures in the Old and New Testaments. We will quickly see that Jesus does not reveal the depth of understanding in the Bible to non-believers. They are only allowed to understand the basics of the scriptures: repent from all sins, trust in Jesus for your salvation, continue for all your life.
Those who sincerely do this, and God knowing that they will continue for the rest of their life with Jesus, He causes these persons to be “born again,” by the Spirit of God, as Jesus described in John chapter 3. Paul said in Romans 8, that only people who have the “Spirit of Christ” living in them, are truly God’s people.
Jesus said that it is the Holy Spirit that enables simple men to remember what Jesus said and did, and write a testimony about Him for the world.
The reason this is important, is that later, Jesus will teach the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. In this illustration, we learn that there will be many pretend Christians who are not true believers in Jesus. Jesus said that they are planted in the Church by satan in order to cause disruption and confusion. This is representative of people who claim to be Christians, yet deny the essential truths of Christ.
The important difference between a true Christian and a pretend Christian (Tare) or atheist, is that only those who are truly born again by the Spirit of God (John 3:3), are given the Holy Spirit.[11a,b]
There are people in the world today who say they are a Christian, but when we examine their lives, words, and what they write, we see that they do not believe the New Testament testimony written by the men who saw and heard Jesus, is true. These scholars assert that Jesus didn’t say or do most of the things written about Him. Pretend Christians, and atheist scholars, state that the men who wrote these texts, made up the story about Jesus and made Him God, when Jesus never claimed this about Himself.
The Assertions Of Atheist Scholars
There are many persons who have attained an academic degree, who say that eyewitnesses didn’t write the New Testament. These scholars assert that people who had never seen Jesus, wrote the Gospel narratives late in the first century, or early in the second century. The problem with these assertions is that there is absolutely no evidence anywhere these things are true. These statements are made as the opinions of atheist New Testament scholars.
In several of my books I have examined these false claims by atheist scholars, and demonstrated by actual evidence that the ideas put forth by these atheist scholars are not true, and there is no evidence to prove their posits.[12,13]
When we examine the actual text of the 24,593 extant New Testament manuscripts, we find that these writers state in their own words, 134 times, they are “eyewitnesses.” We find that Jesus commanded these men to immediately write their testimony of all they had seen and heard concerning Jesus, and send it out to “all the nations.”
These false teachers, masquerading as PhD scholars and experts, are the Tares Jesus said that satan would plant in the church in the last days, to deceive people who are unaware.
This past week I had a discussion with a man who is described as a “Professor of Religion,” at Butler University. In our discussion, James F. McGrath asserted that my exegesis of Matthew 13:11-16 was not correct. The following is my opening question to McGrath, and his statement:
Rob Robinson: “Please allow me to understand who you are before we go further: You state you are a “Professor of Religion.” Do you believe that the testimony about Jesus in the New Testament is true? Do you believe that Jesus is God in human flesh, and His death paid for the sins of all people?”
James McGrath: “How would my answers change the fact that you are twisting scripture?!”
Rob Robinson: “Therein is the rub. I have not distorted these texts. If you don’t believe the New Testament is reliable and you are in the camp of atheist scholars who teach that many of the things in the New Testament are not true, this changes everything regarding your conclusions. If you are a believer like me, declare it.”
James McGrath: “What good is claiming to believe the Bible as you do if you twist its meaning? If you genuinely believe you aren’t distorting it then that proves one can believe as you do and yet fail to understand the scriptures. Your views and twisting of the Bible seem to go hand in hand.”
Rob Robinson: “Once again, I have given the correct exegesis of these texts. Your answers are in parallel with the answers of atheists who do not believe the New Testament is true. Thank you for clarifying that you are in this camp. This was already clear by your comments. You could at least be honest”.
According to McGrath, a PhD in Religion, the assertion that Matthew 13 is about the revelation of God’s word to believers, a revelation not given to those who do not believe, is not true. The following is what McGrath said regarding this text:
James McGrath: “In Matthew 13 it is clear that Jesus is explaining why he teaches publicly in parables. He is said to explain the parables to his disciples. It is not about some having an innate or miraculously-bestowed ability to understand. You’re twisting Jesus’ words to suit your own ends.”
The Entire Context Of Matthew 13 Is About The Revelation Of God’s Word To Believers; Non-Revelation To Non-believers
Beginning with the context of four types of human hearts who hear the word of God concerning Jesus and His offer of salvation, Jesus is clear that three of the four who hear this message, either reject the message, or fall away after hearing it.
Only one of the four will actually hear, believe, go on to live a life born again by the Spirit, and given a true revelation of God’s word.
Throughout the New Testament, beginning with Jesus in the Gospels, it is the Holy Spirit who enables men and women to become genuine New Testament scholars. This is accomplished by the revelation of what is written as the Word of God, and rightly understood in proper exegesis, by the help of the Holy Spirit.
An atheist scholar, regardless of his academic achievements in this world, does not have the Holy Spirit.[11a] This makes it impossible for any atheist scholars to correctly understand the texts of the Bible, and have the ability to write accurate conclusions. This is the primary reason that atheist scholars, like James McGrath, make so many errors.
When I gave James McGrath the opportunity to publicly declare his faith in Christ, he refused. When I asked him specifically if he believed the historical testimony about Jesus in the New Testament, is true, he also refused.
Understanding that both of these questions are of paramount importance concerning Jesus and eternal life, any true believer in Jesus, would answer in the affirmative. In my four decades of asking these two questions to people who claimed to be a believer in Jesus, but were later found to be an atheist, not one has ever answered these two questions in the affirmative.
In every case where I asked these two questions to a true believer in Jesus, the immediate answer was in confirming they believed the testimony about Jesus in the texts of the New Testament which declare Jesus to the world.
The conversation ended with McGrath asserting that I was questioning the true faith of a Christian:
James McGrath: “So you prefer to deny a Christian’s faith in order to remain in your delusion that your twisting of the Bible is what it means. Thank you for showing your true colors here publicly for any and all to see. Hopefully that may prevent you from deceiving others in the future.”
This may be an indication that McGrath is not claiming to be an atheist, but a Christian, while denying the Christ, and the truth of His word. This kind of person is described by Jesus as a “Tares,” whom He will define in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, that follows the Parable of the Soils.
It is also possible that McGrath considers himself a “Progressive Christian,” which is not Christianity at all, but a watered down Christianity in the form of modern apostasy. Progressive Christians are pretend Christians (gr. zizanion), according to the definition set forth by Jesus in the New Testament (Mat.13:24-30). Fundamentalist Christians believe the time-tested definition of Christianity; a belief that the Bible is divinely inspired, it is the Word of God, and it is infallible; to be interpreted literally, and all parts of the Bible, Old and New Testaments, are equal in inspiration by God, is scripture, and is all true. Progressive Christians do not believe the Bible is infallible. They do not believe the Bible is literally is the Word of God, they assert that it only contains the Word of God.[11b]
This Progressive view of the Bible allows the reader to determine which parts of the Bible they believe, and others, they do not believe. This has led to the type of scholarship presented by James McGrath, where the clear meaning of a text, is disputed as metaphorical or allegorical, rather than literal and precise. No person who holds a Progressive view of the Bible, can be a genuine Biblical scholar. This is according to the precepts described throughout the entire Bible.
Rob Robinson: “I asked you to declare whether you believe the historical testimony written about Jesus in the New Testament, and whether you believe Jesus is God in human flesh. You would not answer these questions. I did not deny your faith, you did.
Rob Robinson: “If you truly are a Christian, a believer in Jesus, declare it. Say publicly that you believe all the testimony written about Jesus in the New Testament. Stop writing and teaching in opposition to Jesus and His word. Live for Him with all your heart, and never compromise your faith.”
The assertion that I have “twisted scripture,” is revealed as a ruse to cover the overt fact that McGrath is actually an atheist or pretend Christian (Tare) masquerading as a Christian Professor of Religion. This is the reason that McGrath is unable to give a correct exegesis of Matthew 13, demonstrating the teaching of Jesus that unbelievers cannot understand the depth of scripture.
By his answer, James McGrath provided us with evidence that he is not a Christian. He refused to confirm that he believes in the historical Jesus of the New Testament, and he does not believe the New Testament narratives are true. When we examine all of the things that McGrath has written, we see that he is in opposition to the truth as it is declared in the New Testament. McGrath writes as an atheist or agnostic would, about Jesus, not a true believer.
Jesus said that what is truly in a person’s heart, comes out from their mouth. Jesus said that a tree is known by its fruit. The fruit that comes from the writing of James McGrath is not fruit that leads people to Jesus, but away from Him and into unbelief. I pray for James McGrath to commit his life to Jesus in spirit and truth and be a true and faithful follower, declaring the truth of all the New Testament.
Evidence Of Atheist Scholar Errors By James McGrath
During this exchange I took the opportunity to review a few of McGrath’s papers that he has written as commentary on the New Testament. One of these is an essay regarding the errors of scripture he asserts in Luke’s Gospel, and the statement regarding Quirinius and the census, a common objection by atheist scholars.
In his essay McGrath opens with the context of his assertions: “The Gospel…assumes that Quirinius and King Herod were contemporaries, when they were separated by ten years or more”
Atheist New Testament scholars often cite this text in Luke to try and prove the New Testament is not reliable and contains numerous errors. In fact, the assertion by McGrath, is incorrect. It is quite easy to prove by evidence that what Luke recorded two thousand years ago, is absolutely true.
I returned the following correction to James McGrath, regarding his error in exegesis of Luke’s testimony:
“In evaluating whether or not these men have told us the truth regarding these events of Luke’s Gospel, we can examine history and see if such a census ever occurred. One of the criticisms of Luke’s account of Jesus’ life is found in his description of the census that he says was ordered by Caesar Augustus.
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Because no previous archeological discovery had ever verified that such a census took place, Luke was regarded as having embellished this story. A later discovery regarding the taxes of the kingdom of the Roman government revealed that the taxpayers were enrolled every 14 years by the use of a census. Archeology has uncovered facts which verify that Caesar Augustus did conduct the precise census described during the period of time Luke specified—near the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.
Further, an inscription discovered in Antioch describes Quirinius in 7 B.C., who was the governor of Syria, on two occasions—7 B.C. and 6 A.D.—a fact that is confirmed by the Jewish historian Josephus.
An archeological discovery in Egypt uncovered a Papyrus that specifically describes the details of this census spoken of by Luke, under Caesar Augustus:
“Because of the approaching census it is necessary that all those residing for any cause away from their homes should at once prepare to return to their own governments in order that they may complete the family registration of the enrollment and that the tilled lands may retain those belonging to them.”
What Jesus Said Concerning Those Who May Know The Depths Of The New Testament Scriptures
In confirmation that James McGrath is wrong about his exegesis of Matthew 13, lets us continue with Jesus in His teaching of this text.
The disciples are perplexed as to why Jesus always speaks clearly and to the point to them, but to unbelievers and the general crowds of people, He speaks by Parables. Jesus closes His teaching about the four soils and their important meaning, by saying: (v.9) “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
We see throughout the New Testament that the Lord does not reveal Himself or the depth of His word, to unbelievers. This is vividly exhibited after Jesus is raised from the dead:
Acts 10:39-41: (Peter said:) “And we apostles are witnesses of all he did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him to life on the third day. Then God allowed him to appear, not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be his witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”
Peter stated that Jesus only appeared to the men and women who believed in Him, not the general public. The revelation of Himself during the most important event of His ministry, was limited to the disciples who believe in Him, not unbelievers.
In the teaching of the Parables by Jesus, as He says these things to the crowds of people who come to listen to Him, Jesus’ intent is to hide truth in these Parables. The true believer will search out their true meaning, and discover a wealth of information, provided by the Holy Spirit. The false believer, the pretend believer, illustrated later by Jesus as a Tare, or weed, hears the Parables, but does not really understand their spiritual depth. This is because the unbeliever does not have the Holy Spirit living in them to reveal the truth of God’s word.
Jesus divides people into three categories:
- The true believer who hears and learns to understand by the Holy Spirit inside them.
- The false or pretend believer, “Tare” (gr. zizanion), who pretends to be a Christian, but denies the truth of the Bible, doubts the supernatural aspects of scripture, denies the need for repentance and to live a holy life. These individuals do not have the Holy Spirit, because they have not truly turned from their sins, and emphatically believed in Jesus.
- The atheist or agnostic who is militant in their hatred of God and are often hidden by the title of scholar, while writing in opposition to the word of God and true believers of Jesus.
These three categories of people, result from the four types of soils that Jesus described in the Parable of the Soils. The purpose of Matthew chapter 13, is to distinguish these three types of person in the world, so that the believer might understand these things. Only those who have truly turned from their sins and fully committed themselves to the Biblical Jesus, are truly saved. Only true believers receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and have the ability to understand the deep principles of the Bible.
His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?” Jesus replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables…
Here we see the culmination of Jesus’ reason for teaching the Parable of the soils, an understanding of who can understand the deep things of scripture, and those who cannot. When Nicodemus came to Jesus in John chapter 3, he was an esteemed Pharisee of Israel. These men were known as the “Doctors of the Law,” today, the PhD’s of the scriptures.
In spite of his advanced education, Nicodemus was not aware of God’s Spirit in empowering men with knowledge of things concerning the kingdom of God. Jesus tells Nicodemus that in order to see (gr. opaw, to perceive, understand), a person must be “born again.”
Jesus explains that the act of being born again, is a work of the Holy Spirit where a person turns from their sins in sincere sorrow, determines to believe in Jesus and follow Him for all of their life, and then they are given the Holy Spirit to come and take residence inside the believer.
Galatians 3:5 “I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.”
Galatians 3:14 “Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.”
In John, chapter 14, Jesus said that after He was crucified and risen from the dead, when He returned to heaven, He would send the Holy Spirit to fill every believer. In 14:26, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would give these disciples of Jesus the ability to remember all that He had said and done, so they could write a permanent record of His life, death, and resurrection, to send to “all the nations” (Acts 1:8).
In Romans chapter 8:9-11, Paul also affirms that if any person does not have the Spirit of God living in them, they are not saved (they do not belong to Him).
“You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”
The indwelling of God’s Spirit inside the believer, is the source of wisdom that allows us to understand the scriptures. An atheist or person pretending to be a Christian, does not have the Spirit of God in them. According to Jesus, and Paul, these persons do not have the ability to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
In practice, this text from Matthew 13, proves that James McGrath is wrong about what Jesus is teaching. This is not simply an explanation of why Jesus teaches in Parables, but a definition for who can understand the Bible and make correct exegesis of the texts. Being correct requires guidance from the Holy Spirit.
The texts of the Bible are not meant for a person with a secular PhD. These men and women may have achieved an academic title by their education, but this secular process does not impart the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit which enables a person the ability to properly understand the Bible.
This is the reason the James McGrath, Bart Ehrman, and many other atheist scholars, cannot rightly discern the texts of the New Testament. In their minds, the Spirit-filled person is the one who doesn’t know the texts. This is what McGrath told me. According to Jesus and the teaching of Paul in the New Testament, McGrath is wrong.
Further Confirmation Of Jesus Stating That Non-Believers Cannot Understand The Deep Things Of the Bible:
Jesus continues as any scholar would, by citing the words of the Old Testament prophets, in confirmation of His teaching. When we read the references Jesus quotes from in the Old Testament, both Jeremiah and Isaiah wrote in describing the false believer, the pretender, and the haters of God. These prophets recorded that these types of persons are not capable of understanding the depths of God’s word, because their eyes are closed, their ears will not hear, because they have hardened their hearts towards God and the truth of His word:
For they look, but they don’t really see.
They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.
This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,
‘When you hear what I say,
you will not understand.
When you see what I do,
you will not comprehend.
For the hearts of these people are hardened,
and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes—
so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and let me heal them.’
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.”
There is no ambiguity in what Jesus is teaching concerning Matthew 13:11-16. People who have rejected the true nature of God, as He is revealed in Christ, by the New Testament, are prohibited from understanding these texts. “hardened hearts, closed ears, blind eyes; they cannot hear or see, what the scriptures are revealing.
Jesus finishes with the words: “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.” Those who truly love Jesus; people who have turned from their sins to Jesus as their Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside these persons and gives them the ability to understand the depths of God’s word.
Why can the disciples see and hear what Jesus is teaching? They have exercised their right to believe that Jesus is who He claims to be. They have been born again by the Spirit of God, and for this reason, God reveals things to believers He withholds from non-believers.
When Jesus asked these men who they say He is, Peter said that “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus said: “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood did not reveal this to you (human wisdom), my Father in heaven revealed this to you” (Matthew 16:15-18).
Peter knew who Jesus was, because the Spirit of God revealed this to Him. The wisdom of this world does not grant any person the ability to know the world of God. This includes the atheist New Testament scholars, like James McGrath.
But when anyone turns from their sins, to Jesus, God lifts the veil of blindness, and they are able to see and understand the scriptures.
The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares
As we have come this far into Matthew chapter 13, it is evident that this is one of the most important chapters in the Bible. Here in these texts, Jesus is giving the true believer tremendous wisdom to live in the present evil world.
Jesus has told us that He wants every person to be saved. He wants all of us to know Him and understand His word. He also knows that there are many enemies who hate Him and those who love and believe in Him. Jesus is giving us knowledge of who these person are, and to understand that not everything a scholar says is true. Not everything a person who claims to be a Christian says, is true. We must test the words of these person by confronting them with what they believe about Jesus.
- In order to be a true Christian, a person must believe in the Christ, as He is declared in the New Testament. If a person does not believe in the Biblical Jesus, they are not saved, and they will not receive the Holy Spirit who guides the true believer into all truth. This will result in errors in the conclusions that scholars make, and deception being perpetrated against unsuspecting people who read the words of these pretend Christians. These persons are the Tares Jesus described in Matthew 13:24-30.
- It is possible to be an atheist and also a New Testament scholar. There are many hundreds, if not thousands, of men and women who have earned a PhD in Biblical or New Testament studies, who don’t believe that the New Testament is true. These persons are the Tares Jesus described in Matthew 13:24-30.
- The True believer will always openly declare that they believe in the Jesus that is declared in the New Testament: God in the body of a man, sinless, perfect, Holy, performing miracles to prove He is God and Messiah. Crucified for their sins, risen from the dead, alive forevermore. Anything less than these facts, or to diminish who Jesus is, as declared in the New Testament; any statements to the effect that parts of the New Testament are true, others are not, all of these compromises regarding who Jesus is, are indications of a false believer, pretend Christian, atheist, or agnostic.
Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy (satan) came and sowed tares (zizanion) among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ”
Jesus provides incredible insight into why we see people in the world who claim to be Christians, while acting in ways that are contrary to who Jesus is. Here we learn that as Jesus began building His church of true believers, satan came along behind Him and planted false believers in the Christian church.
There is no mistake in what Jesus is describing here, for He uses the Koine-Greek word, “Zizanion,” to describe the Tares, or weeds, known by Jesus as pretend Christians.
There are many scholars who claim to be Christian, while denying the truth of the testimony written about Jesus in the New Testament. This is evidence that these person are the Tares that Jesus is describing. It is not possible to be a true Christian, a genuine believer in Jesus, while denying the testimony written about Him by the men who saw and heard Him.
Atheists and pretend Christians, who write as New Testament scholars, often assert that the texts we read in the 27 books of the New Testament, were contrived. The assertion is that non-eyewitnesses write these texts long after the disciples of Jesus died, and they embellished the texts to make it seem like Jesus is God, when He never claimed to be God. From this lie, these scholars go on to assert that the New Testament is filled with errors and cannot be trusted.
There is absolutely no evidence anywhere that any of these false assertions are true. I have given atheist scholars the opportunity to impeach the texts of the New Testament on numerous occasions during my own 46 years as a scholar. Not once has anyone ever provided any actual evidence to prove these claims.
If you would like to see the evidence that impeaches all of the primary assertions made against the New Testament, the link for this evidence is at this website:
 John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
 Matthew 19:16-20 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ Honor your father and your mother,’ and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
 John 17:6 (Jesus said:) “I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. In order for a person to “always be His,” they must have been His before the world existed. In eternity before the universe, earth, and man, God knew who would truly believe in Jesus and be saved. These people He chose for eternal life. The people whom Jesus knew ahead of time, would only believe for awhile, or never believe, Jesus did not choose for eternal life.
 1. Acts 15:18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works.” 2. Romans 8:29-30 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” 3. John 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” 4. “Revelation 16:7 “And I heard another from the altar saying, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”
 1. 1 John 2:2: “And Jesus Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” 2. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
 1 John 4:10 “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
 1. John 3:3 “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” 2. 1 Peter 1:23 “For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God”
 1. Romans 8:9 “You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 2. Galatians 3:5 “I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.” 3. Galatians 3:14 “Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.”
 John 14:25-26 (Jesus said:) “I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”
[11a] Romans 8:9 “You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)
[11b] Progressive Christianity v. Fundamental Christianity, a good definition written by Kalen Fristad: “Perhaps the most basic difference between fundamentalists and progressives is how they view Scripture. Fundamentalists believe the Bible is divinely inspired, is the Word of God, is infallible in all respects, is to be interpreted literally, and that all parts of it are of equal value and truth. Progressives also generally have a high view of Scripture and believe as well that it is divinely inspired. They, however, recognize that the Bible reflects the human limitations and cultural biases of the writers. Thus, progressives don’t believe that the Bible is infallible. Rather than believing that it literally is the Word of God, they contend that it contains the Word of God. Progressives believe that much of the Bible should not be taken literally. Instead, in recognition that the Bible contains different kinds of literature, such as legend, allegory, metaphor, hyperbole, and parable, they look for deeper meanings that a literal interpretation misses. Progressives do not believe that all parts of Scripture are equal. They give the greatest credence to the teachings and example of Christ.”
 “You Are My Witnesses: The Men Who Saw Jesus,” Robert Clifton Robinson, 2019, Teach The Word Publishing, Inc, Amazon Kindle Edition.
 “Yesh: The Historical Jesus,” Robert Clifton Robinson, 2013, Teach The Word Publishing, Inc., Amazon Kindle Edition.
 James F. McGrath, Professor of Religion and Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature, Butler University.
 Source: http://blue.butler.edu/~jfmcgrat/jesus/quirinius.htm
 Luke 2:1-3
 1.John Elder, “Prophets, Idols and Diggers.” Indianapolis, New York: Bobbs-Merrill,1960. Pages 159, 160. 2. Joseph Free,. “Archaeology and Bible History.” Wheaton: Scripture Press Publications, 1969, Page 285.
 Elder, John. Prophets, Idols and Diggers. Indianapolis, New York: Bobbs-Merrill,1960, Page 160.
 1.Elder, John. Prophets, Idols and Diggers. Indianapolis, New York: Bobbs-Merrill,1960, Pages 159, 160. 2. Free, Joseph. Archaeology and Bible History. Wheaton: Scripture Press Publications, 1969, page 285.
 Matthew 13:19-23 “The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
 2 Corinthians 3:12-17 “Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
 Strong’s: g2215. ζιζάνιον zizanion; of uncertain origin; darnel or false grain: — tares. AV (8) – tares 8; a kind of darnel, resembling wheat except the grains are black.
 Mark 4:13: “Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables?”
Categories: Agnostics and Skeptics, Alleged Contradictions, Common errors of Atheists, Common objections by Atheists, Exegesis and Hermeneutics, How Salvation Occurs, How The NT Writers Remembered, Jesus Cross and Wisdom, Jesus is God, Pretend Believers, Reasons For Unbelief, Religion vs. Relationship, Robert Clifton Robinson, Salvation is a free gift, The Atheists inability to understand the Gospel, The Existence of God, The Four Gospels, The Fulness of the Holy Spirit, The Historical Jesus, The Parables of Jesus, We must repent