If it is God's will for all to come to repentance, why would He make it difficult for some to understand? It even seems in verse 12 that He doesn't want the ones outside to understand, or they might repent. This is very hard to understand this. I must be misunderstanding the context.
Mark 4:10 - 12
NKJV - 10 But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. 11 And He said to them, "To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables.
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No, you did not misunderstand the context. It says what it means and means what it says. The passage and principle you referenced is repeated in Matthew 13:10-16 and Luke 8:9-10. It also appears in Acts 28:25-27 and Romans 11:7-8. All of the above passages are basically quotations of Isaiah 6:9-10: "And 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." I highly recommend that you read Romans chapters 9-11. In chapter 11 Paul explains that this "blinding" of Israel is not total nor is it permanent. In Romans 11:7 Paul states: " What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." v. 11 "I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy." Romans11:25 "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." v. 26 "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: v. 27 "For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." v. 28 "As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes." God, in His eternal plan, purpose and will is presently saving people out of "ALL" tongues, kindreds and nations. He stated in John 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." Christ offering himself to the Father for the sin of the world is what made salvation available to men of ALL nationalities. Ephesians 2:11-13 "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." Corporately, Israel has been placed on the spiritual back burner so to speak. Yet they are beloved for the "fathers sakes" and according to Romans 9:6-7 "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called." There is a remnant of Israel, a portion of Israel that God is presently calling unto salvation. Referring back to Romans 11:27, Paul is speaking of the prophecy in Jeremiah 31:31-40 which is yet to be fulfilled. One day God will open Israel's eyes, ears and open their hearts. " And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." (Zechariah 12:10) Conclusion? " O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)
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