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Interpreting Parables

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I'm doing a lesson in a week on parables and am looking for different interpretations on them. If you have any insight for the parables of Jesus, please share. 

 

Some of what I've found:

Elder Yang on the Unjust Steward

John Welch on the God Samaritan 

For the Great Supper (Matthew 22:1-14) the three excuses to not go to the supper were had new land, had new oxen, just got married. This can be read as people don't come to God since they care more about investments, possessions, others.

For the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) the rich man could be an actual High Priest (Caiaphas)  who was learned but no wisdom or understanding//Lazarus could refer to Eliezer, Abraham's servant who was denied inheritance (Gen 15:4), but now being on Abraham's bosom meant opening the gospel to all

The Prodigal Son could be the Gentiles and the first born the Jews.

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1 hour ago, firepatch36 said:

I'm doing a lesson in a week on parables and am looking for different interpretations on them. If you have any insight for the parables of Jesus, please share. 

 

Some of what I've found:

Elder Yang on the Unjust Steward

John Welch on the God Samaritan 

For the Great Supper (Matthew 22:1-14) the three excuses to not go to the supper were had new land, had new oxen, just got married. This can be read as people don't come to God since they care more about investments, possessions, others.

For the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) the rich man could be an actual High Priest (Caiaphas)  who was learned but no wisdom or understanding//Lazarus could refer to Eliezer, Abraham's servant who was denied inheritance (Gen 15:4), but now being on Abraham's bosom meant opening the gospel to all

The Prodigal Son could be the Gentiles and the first born the Jews.

Um, the Jews didn't do all their Father asked- if so, Yeshua was quite mistaken to overturn their money changing tables in the Temple. They had basically become apostate - the pharisees basically viewed themselves as the law, and their interpretations paramount to the written law, so they can't be the first-born righteous son. The world is not yet ready to receive the prodigal son.

I believe the parable of the sower and the seed is revelatory of the primary orders of heaven. In the celestial kingdom, some yield 30 fold, some 60 and some 100 fold. But I don't think there is much, if anything, out there from Church leaders in agreement.  In my neck of the woods any "speculation" on these types of things is not really welcome... 

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One can find  various versions of the same basic parable:

Luke 13:6-9,
6 Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. 7 Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’ 8 “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. 9 If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”

Romans 11:17-24,
17 But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. 18 But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root. 19 “Well,” you may say, “those branches were broken off to make room for me.” 20 Yes, but remember—those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe. So don’t think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen. 21 For if God did not spare the original branches, he won’t spare you either. 22 Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in his kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off. 23 And if the people of Israel turn from their unbelief, they will be grafted in again, for God has the power to graft them back into the tree. 24 You, by nature, were a branch cut from a wild olive tree. So if God was willing to do something contrary to nature by grafting you into his cultivated tree, he will be far more eager to graft the original branches back into the tree where they belong.

Psalm 80:8-10 describes Israel as the "vine" which was brought "out of Egypt" and "planted" in a land prepared for it, where it was caused "to take deep root," and in which its "boughs" and "branches" spread like those of a cedar tree.

Jacob 5 quotes Zenos in an all encompassing version of the parable, which is well summed up and interpreted in Pseudo-Philo, Biblical Antiquities, 28:4-5, "Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel when they, are gathered together unto the assembly: ............. this people shall arise and corrupt their ways, departing from my commandments, and I shall be exceeding wroth with them. Yet will I remember the time which was before ......and I will plant a great vineyard, and out of it will I choose a plant, and order it and call it by my name, and it shall be mine for ever. But when I have done all that I have spoken, nevertheless my planting, which is called after me, will not know me, the planter thereof, but will corrupt his fruit, and will not yield me his fruit. ..................5. And Cenez lifted up his voice, and the elders, and all the people with one accord, and wept with a great lamentation until the evening and said: Shall the shepherd destroy his flock to no purpose, except it continue in sin against him? And shall it not be he that shall spare according to the abundance of his mercy, seeing he hath spent great labour upon us?"  https://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/bap/bap44.htm .

Note that only in Jacob 4:17 - 5:77 and in Gospel of Thomas 65-66 are the vineyard parable and the rejected cornerstone imagery combined.  Rather odd coincidence.

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Sometimes just taking a different position in the parable can change the meaning of it.

Often in the parable of the prodigal son, we think we are the son who stays. Maybe I’m the father?  Maybe I’m the prodigal son?

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I love AJ Levine and her take on the parables.  She is a Jew and a University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School which gives her an interesting perspective on the parables.  Here is a link to one of her talks.  It is well worth the time to watch.  I saw her speak once and would characterize her as a female "Jerry Seinfeld", very entertaining.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbE87SHRQ3A

I have this book by her and it is a great read.

https://www.amazon.com/Short-Stories-Jesus-Enigmatic-Controversial/dp/0061561037

All the best,

Bob

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1 hour ago, Coop said:

I love AJ Levine and her take on the parables.  She is a Jew and a University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School which gives her an interesting perspective on the parables.  Here is a link to one of her talks.  It is well worth the time to watch.  I saw her speak once and would characterize her as a female "Jerry Seinfeld", very entertaining.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbE87SHRQ3A

I have this book by her and it is a great read.

https://www.amazon.com/Short-Stories-Jesus-Enigmatic-Controversial/dp/0061561037..............

She and Marc Zvi Brettler have also provided an excellent tool for NT interpretation, their Annotated Jewish New Testament (OUP, 2011), with many useful appendices or excursi, available online at https://www.scribd.com/document/322150103/The-Jewish-Annotated-New-Testament-pdf .  There is a second edition, and it is well worth purchase for constant reference.

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7 hours ago, firepatch36 said:

I'm doing a lesson in a week on parables and am looking for different interpretations on them. If you have any insight for the parables of Jesus, please share. 

 

Some of what I've found:

Elder Yang on the Unjust Steward

John Welch on the God Samaritan 

For the Great Supper (Matthew 22:1-14) the three excuses to not go to the supper were had new land, had new oxen, just got married. This can be read as people don't come to God since they care more about investments, possessions, others.

For the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) the rich man could be an actual High Priest (Caiaphas)  who was learned but no wisdom or understanding//Lazarus could refer to Eliezer, Abraham's servant who was denied inheritance (Gen 15:4), but now being on Abraham's bosom meant opening the gospel to all

The Prodigal Son could be the Gentiles and the first born the Jews.

 

I love parables - fun thread!

Yang's explanation was a bit confusing??  I always thought the unjust steward was just a lesson on being more forgiving of others when we realize how far short we are ourselves.  We are judged based on how we judge others.  If we forgive others - discount the debt of others - are friendly and see the best in others, that is how we will be treated in return. -  It was a rebuke to the Pharisees, who bound heavy burdens on others but themselves shirked them, while pretending hearty obedience to the Law.  Moral - the Pharisees should feel sympathetic with the poor Jews who keep it only partially. 

 

Good Samaritan - 

Samaritans were considered to be a people without God - they did not go church, atheists I suppose. Samaritans were a mixed people, common, and despised by the priestly class of Jews. This Samaritan was good by nature, not good because they were under obligation or because they were responsible or had been taught or commanded - just good because that was their natural inner light.  The golden law - to see the whole world as neighbors - another jab at the hypocrisy of organized religious people like Pharisees.  God is no respecter of persons.

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8 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

Sometimes just taking a different position in the parable can change the meaning of it.

Often in the parable of the prodigal son, we think we are the son who stays. Maybe I’m the father?  Maybe I’m the prodigal son?

I am the pig and that stupid prodigal keeps eating all my food.

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7 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

I am the pig and that stupid prodigal keeps eating all my food.

Just be glad you’re not the fat calf. 

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The rich ruler 

matt 19

16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Too many people focus on the part of Jesus saying keep the commandments to be saved.

what they miss is that Jesus is saying there are two way to be saved.

1. Keep the commandments.

2. Have faith in him.

we can not keep the commandments perfectly. Jesus says only god is good and after Jesus tells the man which commandments to keep he says he keeps them all. Which in turn is saying he is also good. But we know that is not true because only god is good.

verses 25-26 teach the true meaning of the conversation.

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I love John Bytheway's book: Of Pigs, Pearls, and Prodigals: A Fresh Look At the Parables of Jesus.  (You can download the kindle version on Amazon for $10.)

He breaks down each parable (30+ are covered) into these parts:

  • who
  • what
  • where
  • why/what question was asked
  • interpretation
  • application

I've gone back to it again and again.

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On 4/27/2019 at 8:18 AM, firepatch36 said:

I'm doing a lesson in a week on parables and am looking for different interpretations on them. If you have any insight for the parables of Jesus, please share. 

Did a T&S post on them a few weeks ago:

https://www.timesandseasons.org/index.php/2019/03/matt-13-and-the-mysteries/

I tend to think by their nature they have multiple layers with one layer being the mysteries.

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On 4/27/2019 at 5:29 PM, changed said:

 

I love parables - fun thread!

Yang's explanation was a bit confusing??  I always thought the unjust steward was just a lesson on being more forgiving of others when we realize how far short we are ourselves.  We are judged based on how we judge others.  If we forgive others - discount the debt of others - are friendly and see the best in others, that is how we will be treated in return. -  It was a rebuke to the Pharisees, who bound heavy burdens on others but themselves shirked them, while pretending hearty obedience to the Law.  Moral - the Pharisees should feel sympathetic with the poor Jews who keep it only partially. 

 

I like that interpretation. I liked what Yang said although he didn't give a master= this and unjust steward=that.

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On 4/27/2019 at 8:18 AM, firepatch36 said:

For the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) the rich man could be an actual High Priest (Caiaphas)  who was learned but no wisdom or understanding//Lazarus could refer to Eliezer, Abraham's servant who was denied inheritance (Gen 15:4), but now being on Abraham's bosom meant opening the gospel to all

The name Lazarus can be tied to the actual man who was a friend of Mary and Martha.  He was dead for 4 days (or more) when Jesus took His time to come to Bethany and used His power to call him forth out of the crypt.  There were many witnesses to this event including enemies of the Christ.  They were all amazed.  None had any doubts of the reality of the miracle.  But the enemies remained antagonistic against Jesus and plotted among themselves to eliminate Lazarus (as well as Jesus).

The Parable of the Rich Man and the Suffering Beggar Named Lazarus is given in Luke 16:19 thru 31.  "Abraham's Bosom" references the Place of Paradise which is a part of Spirit Prison where the departed righteous go to rest and await the First Resurrection.  The Place of Torment is reserved for the wicked disembodied spirits that will not experience their resurrection until the end of the Millennium.  The Parable indicates that there is a great impassable gulf "fixed" that prevents any spirits to pass from one to the other (see DC 138 for how the wicked can repent and be delivered out of hell).

The Parable has an interesting conclusion indicating people will remain stubborn and rebellious even if Abraham was to send one of the righteous spirits back to them to warn of the punishments in the next world.  Verse 31:  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

The "real" Lazarus that rose from the dead most likely described his experiences in the Spirit World during the 4 days.  He would have testified of the role of Christ and His Authority.

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