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Mark 4:11

Unto you is given the mystery of the kingdom of God (Humin to musthrion dedotai th basileia tou qeou). See on "Mt 13:11" for word musthrion. Here ( Mark 4:11 ; Matthew 13:11 ; Luke 8:10 ) alone in the Gospels, but in Paul 21 times and in the Revelation 4 times. It is frequent in Daniel and O.T. Apocrypha. Matthew and Luke use it here in the plural. Matthew and Luke add the word to know (gnwnai), but Mark's presentation covers a wider range than growing knowledge, the permanent possession of the mystery even before they understand it. The secret is no longer hidden from the initiated. Discipleship means initiation into the secret of God's kingdom and it will come gradually to these men. But unto them that are without (ekeinoi de toi exw). Peculiar to Mark, those outside our circle, the uninitiated, the hostile group like the scribes and Pharisees, who were charging Jesus with being in league with Beelzebub. Luke 8:10 has "to the rest" (toi loipoi), Matthew 13:11 simply "to them" (ekeinoi). Without the key the parables are hard to understand, for parables veil the truth of the kingdom being stated in terms of another realm. Without a spiritual truth and insight they are unintelligible and are often today perverted. The parables are thus a condemnation on the wilfully blind and hostile, while a guide and blessing to the enlightened. That (ina). Mark has the construction of the Hebrew "lest" of Isaiah 6:9 . with the subjunctive and so Luke 8:10 , while Matthew 13:13 uses causal oti with the indicative following the LXX. See on Matthew 13:13 for the so-called causal use of ina. Gould on Mark 4:12 has an intelligent discussion of the differences between Matthew and Mark and Luke. He argues that Mark here probably "preserves the original form of Jesus' saying." God ironically commands Isaiah to harden the hearts of the people. If the notion of purpose is preserved in the use of ina in Mark and Luke, there is probably some irony also in the sad words of Jesus. If ina is given the causative use of oti in Matthew, the difficulty disappears. What is certain is that the use of parables on this occasion was a penalty for judicial blindness on those who will not see.

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