The fun part of the Bible is trying to discover
what the true underlying message is or could be.
Jesus spoke in parables all the time, partly because
it forces us to think deeply about spiritual realities.       
Did God really send Jesus to earth to teach us about sheep,
vineyards and fishing, or to help us gain the
abilities to understand his profound spiritual truths?
This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human
wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing
spiritual truths in spiritual words.
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things
that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness
to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are
spiritually discerned. Corinthians 2:13-14
 

Biblical Passage

Literal Interpretation

Spiritual Interpretation

 Matthew 13:14

... By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Jesus explains to the disciples the anatomical principles of hearing and vision.

 He also explains problems associated with the heart.

 He will be able to heal those who are converted because they understand these parables?

This is an awesome example of how Jesus is clearly guiding the disciples (us) to try and understand the deeper meaning of God's message. But of course, most people already think they know the deeper/real meaning of scripture based on the teachings of their current religious affiliations.

To me it seems clear that if given a choice, according to this passage, we are instructed to look and hear beyond the physical and to open our hearts to a more symbolic-spiritual interpretation of everything in the Bible.

Those who insist on making everything literal may not be using their hearts in the way Jesus advises and they will miss out on his healing message.

Matthew 8:21

And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

8:22  But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

Jesus is being less than sensitive with his disciple who simply wants to bury his father before joining Jesus again.

Jesus really thinks dead people in cemeteries will dig their way out of their coffins to bury the disciple's father and then these dead people will bury themselves?

"The human spirit which is not fortified by the presence of the Holy Spirit is dead and in need of resurrection by that divine power; otherwise, though materially advanced to high degrees, man cannot attain full and complete progress.

By this He means that souls though alive in the human kingdom are nevertheless dead if devoid of this particular spirit of divine quickening. They have not partaken of the divine life of the higher kingdom; for the soul which partakes of the power of the divine spirit is verily living".*

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water

 4:15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw

 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Jesus is confusing this thirsty Samarian woman who is sitting in front of a deep dry well, and asked her for water that He knows she doesn't have. Jesus then further confuses her and tells her He has water if she wants it.


Jesus tells people that water is going to flow out of their belly/stomach if they believe him.

John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Jesus was kind enough to spiritually interpret His own parable to give us a guideline of how to interpret scripture.

Water = The true word of God.

John 4:31

In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.

4:32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.

The disciples want Jesus to eat with them but Jesus doesn't prefer the meat they are serving, because He has a secret stash of grade A beef, that they have never tried before?

John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

This is not the literal meat of an animal or fruit. As usual, Jesus guides every discussion to a deeper spiritual meaning.  God's word = meat.

Luke11:16

And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.

Matthew 12:38

Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

Matthew 12:39

But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.

Luke 11:30

For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.

Jesus reprimands the followers and calls them evil and adulterous, and refuses to show them any signs.

He tells them that if they want to see signs they should go and study the story of Jonas.

Although Jesus is constantly teaching them and performs miracles, it is still not enough. They want more signs = magic tricks=supernatural feats before they will believe Him.

Matt 12:40  For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

This literally came to pass as Jesus rose on the third day.  According to Jesus himself, this is supposed to be the only & last sign.

We then have to be mindful of these passages in regard to the state and condition of His second coming. Many people are convinced the whole world will have to experience these supernatural signs before they believe Christ has returned. Jesus lets them know that His teachings and His presence alone are the greatest signs from God.

*Abdul Baha

Wert thou to cleanse the mirror of thy heart from the dust of malice, thou wouldst apprehend the meaning of the symbolic terms revealed by the all-embracing Word of God made manifest in every Dispensation, and wouldst discover the mysteries of divine knowledge. Not, however, until thou consumest with the flame of utter detachment those veils of idle learning, that are current amongst men, canst thou behold the resplendent morn of true knowledge.

    (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 68)



Know verily that the purpose underlying all these symbolic terms and abstruse allusions, which emanate from the Revealers of God's holy Cause, hath been to test and prove the peoples of the world; that thereby the earth of the pure and illuminated hearts may be known from the perishable and barren soil. From time immemorial such hath been the way of God amidst His creatures, and to this testify the records of the sacred books.

    (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 49)



 

God would not allow His return to be an exploited media event !