2nd of the 9th month 2015/2016
Shabbat Shalom all,
Marqos/Mark 6:52 “For they did not understand about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.”
This verse that I have just read was a verse that gripped Carlien this week and after she shared with me this verse I too became very gripped by this and decided to dig a little deeper into this sobering reality of hearts that were hardened, and that is that the hearts of the taught ones of the Master! The message I am sharing with you tonight is called, ‘A HARDENED HEART DEAFENS THE EAR AND BLINDS THE EYE!’ As we go through a few verses and important word studies we must guard against all forms of deceit and lies that can so easily cause one’s heart to harden and leave one blind and deaf to seeing and hearing the simple Truth!
This verse from Marqos/Mark 6 is referring to the taught ones of the Master יהושע Messiah. The setting of this verse is as follows: Under the orders of Herodes Yoḥanan the immerser had been beheaded and when the taught ones heard of it they came and took the body of Yoḥanan and laid it in a tomb. The emissaries, who had been sent out by Messiah, two by two, proclaimed that men should repent and they were casting many demons out and where anointing with oil many who were sick and they were being healed. When Herodes had heard about what the 12 taught ones of Messiah were doing and how the Name of Messiah was becoming well known, he thought that it was Yoḥanan the Immerser, whom he had beheaded, that had been raised from the dead. When the emissaries had come back and gathered themselves to יהושע, they reported to Him all that they had done and taught. Think about it for a moment, they had been witnessing great power and miracles in the Name of יהושע Messiah as they went and preached repentance and healed many in His Name. They came back and with joy reported to the Master what they had done in His Name and the Master tells them to come aside by themselves to a lonely place for a little rest as there were many people coming and going, which didn’t give the emissaries much time to eat or rest. As Messiah and His taught ones went on a boat by themselves to a lonely place, many saw them going and recognised יהושע and ran on foot to meet them at the shore where they would land. When יהושע saw the large crowd He was moved with compassion and began to teach them. As it became late His taught ones urged the Master to send them away so that they could go and get food, but the Master had other plans! He told His taught ones to give the crowds food, and this is where the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish took place, with 12 full baskets being gathered up by the taught ones after all had eaten! After this He made His taught ones enter into the boat to go before Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd. After dismissing the crowd, and the taught ones having left by boat, the Master went to the mountain to pray and in the fourth watch of the night the Master saw the taught ones struggling in the boat against the raging winds and He came to them by walking on the water, which they at first thought was a phantom! When the Master got into the boat the wind ceased and it became calm. The taught ones were exceedingly amazed in themselves and marvelled, and it is here that we then come to this verse 52 which states that they did not understand about the loaves, because their heart was hardened! In the account recorded in Mattithyahu we are told how Kěpha got out the boat and went to the Master and after seeing how strong the wind and water was he began to sink and cried out to the Master to save him. After they had both got in the boat the wind ceased.
This verse 52 may seem odd and out of place, but is it? No!!! Bear in mind that the emissaries had been out preaching repentance and seeing demons being cast out and people being healed of sicknesses in the Name of the Master יהושע Messiah, and then after having come back and reported all to the Master they again witnessed a huge miracle of provision by the Hand of Messiah. This verse that says that they did not understand about the loaves because their heart was hardened! What did they not understand about the loaves? They still did not understand who the Master is!!!
Their understanding was non-existent due to a hardened heart! This is a very frightening thought as we consider that this is being said of the 12 emissaries of the Master!
We again see this in a couple of chapters later, after the miracle of the feeding of the 4000 took place:
Marqos/Mark 8:17 “And יהושע, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened?”
Is your heart still hardened, was the question of the Master to His taught ones!
In this account we are told that after the Master had fed the 4000 with 7 loaves and few fishes that the taught ones had picked up 7 full baskets. This time the Master got into the boat with His taught ones and then came to Dalmanutha where some Pharisees came out to dispute with Him and demanded a sign from Heaven. He and His taught ones then got in the boat again and left, where He warned them about the leaven of the Pharisees. His taught ones began to reason this among themselves and assumed that it was because they did not bring any bread from the feeding of the 4000, and it is here where the Master asks them… “Is your heart still hardened?”
He then says in the next verse:
Marqos/Mark 8:18 “Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?”
Once again I want to remind you that this is the 12 taught ones of the Master that we are reading about here!!!
Messiah asks them about the 2 great miracles of provision that had taken place and how much was picked up after all had eaten and were satisfied. When they answered His questions, He then said to His taught ones in verse 21:
“How do you not understand?”
In the account recorded in Mattithyahu/Matthew we see the following:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 16:11-12 “How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread, but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees?” 12 Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
Why I am mentioning these verses that centre around these miraculous events that took place is to highlight a very dangerous truth, and that is that a hardened heart will causes one’s eyes to not see and one’s ears to not hear and cause one to quickly forget and not remember!
His taught ones did not understand when He warned them about the leaven of the Pharisees and asked if their hearts were still hardened as it was when they did not understand about the loaves that fed the 5000. What Messiah was basically saying to them this second time was that the fact that they had misunderstood His instructions and teaching showed that they still had hardened hearts and had not learnt a thing!
We are given a third account of the 11 taught ones being reproached by the Master for their hardened hearts, in:
Marqos/Mark 16:14 “Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table. And He reproached their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He was raised.”
After the death and resurrection of the Master appeared to the 11 taught ones as they sat at the table and reproached them for their lack of faith and hardness of heart because they had not believed the report of those who had seen the Master after He was raised. Miryam from Maḡdala, from whom the Master had cast out 7 demons, had seen the Master after His resurrection and when she told the 11 they did not believe her. In the account given in Luqas/Luke 24 we are told that the words of those who saw the Master alive appeared to be nonsense to the 11. Kěpha ran to the tomb and saw it empty and went home marvelling at what had taken place. Messiah had appeared again to another two who were on their way to Amma’us, but this time He appeared in another form and their eyes were restrained. Beginning at Mosheh and all the Prophets, He was explaining to them in all the Scriptures the matters concerning Himself; and after sitting down with them to eat and having taken the bread, He blessed, and having broken, He was giving to them and then their eyes were opened and they recognised Him. And He disappeared from their sight. The 11 taught ones did not believe their report either, but now having come and joined them at their table they certainly could not deny His resurrection and the Master reproached them for their hardened heart and unbelief, as they, being His taught ones, should have known and believed!
The miracle of the 5 loaves should have been sufficient for His taught ones to recognise and know who He is, yet they still had hardened hearts after the miracle of the 7 loaves. The eyes of the 2 travellers that were opened after His resurrection were opened after He had broken the bread! This was the Bread of Life that had come down from heaven and the miraculous feeding of the 5000 and the 4000 should have been understood by His close taught ones, yet it was due to a hardened heart that they were unable to see, hear and remember the Truth!
His taught ones had seen His miraculous provision, they had heard reports of His resurrection, yet their hardened hearts had caused them to forget the clear revelation of the Scriptures!
Faith/belief comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Elohim, yet if one’s heart is hardened then one’s ears, eyes and belief is greatly hindered!
What I am greatly struck by as we consider these accounts is the fact that the closest taught ones of the Master had hearts that were hardened! What does it mean to be hardened?
The Greek word that is translated in these three accounts for ‘hardened’ is πωρόω pōroō – Strong’s G4456 which means, ‘to petrify, harden, blind, cover with a thick skin, to harden by covering with a callous’, and metaphorically this Greek word is understood as having the meaning, ‘to make the heart dull, grow hard, become dull, lose the power of understanding’. This Greek word comes from the noun πῶρος pōros which is a stone, or a small piece of stone broken off from a larger one. The verb means, ‘to harden, make hard like a stone, or callous and insensible to the touch’.
When we think of this word in terms of a hard heart and the reference to it being likened to a stone, I am sure that the Scripture that comes to mind is that which we find in Yeḥezqěl:
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 36:26-27 “And I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. And I shall take the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I shall give you a heart of flesh, 27 and put My Spirit within you. And I shall cause you to walk in My laws and guard My right-rulings and shall do them.”
This is a wonderful promise that is given to the scattered House of Yisra’ĕl, that יהוה Himself would gather the House of Yisra’ĕl from among the nations and make His Name known and remove the hardness of heart that had come over a sinful House that had profaned the Name of יהוה, and put His Spirit in us and give us a heart of flesh, causing us walk in His laws and guard His right-rulings and do them! This means that by His Spirit we will be able to understand and not be hardened by sin and lawlessness and be a people who will ‘hear-guard and do’ His commands, that He writes on the fleshly tablets of our hearts, becoming true letters of our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah!
Hardness of heart causes the Truth of Messiah to not be understood and it is because of this that He spoke in parables!
Mattithyahu/Matthew 13:13-16 “Because of this I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 “And in them the prophecy of Yeshayahu is completely filled, which says, ‘Hearing you shall hear and by no means understand, and seeing you shall see and by no means perceive, 15 for the heart of this people has become thickened, and their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart, and turn back, and I heal them.’ 16 “And blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear”
The heart of the people had become ‘thickened’ and the Greek word used here for ‘thickened’ is παχύνω pachunō – Strong’s G3975 which means, ‘to thicken, to fatten, to make dull’, and metaphorically is understood in Greek as meaning, ‘to make stupid or to render the soul dull or callous and be unable to understand’.
This word is used in the LXX (Septuagint) and translated as ‘fat’, in:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 6:10 “Make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and shall turn and be healed.”
The Hebrew word that is used here for ‘fat’ is שָׁמֵן shamen – Strong’s H8082 which means, ‘fat, rich, plenty, lusty’, and comes from the root verb שָׁמֵן shamen – Strong’s H8080 which means, ‘to grow fat, insensitive’, which we see being used in reference to the wrong men among the people, in:
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 5:28 “They have become fat, they are sleek. They also overlook the deeds of the wrong. They did not rightly rule the cause of the fatherless, so that they prosper. And the right of the needy they did not rightly rule.”
Hardened hearts are hearts that have become fat with selfishness and pride, and in the process have lost their ability to see and hear the Truth and only think about themselves!
The Greek word πωρόω pōroō – Strong’s G4456 is only found once in the LXX (Septuagint), and is translated as ‘sorrow’, in:
Iyoḇ/Job 17:7 “And from sorrow my eye has grown dim, and all my members are like shadows.”
The Hebrew word used here for ‘sorrow’ is the noun כַּעַס ka’as – Strong’s H3708 which means, ‘vexation, anger, indignation, grief, bitterness, wrath, provocation’, and comes from the root verb כָּעַס ka’as – Strong’s H3707 which means, ‘to be vexed, angry, provoked to anger’.
Why I mention this is to simply highlight what Iyoḇ tells us, and that is that ‘sorrow’ can harden one’s heart and cause one’s eyes to grow dim and not see clearly! When some get angry or are in grief their heart can become hardened.
As we consider that which can cause one’s heart to harden and become sick, we recognise that sin is a causer of eyes becoming dim and hearts being hardened:
Ěḵah/Lamentations 5:16-17 “The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned! 17 Because of this our heart has been sick, because of these our eyes have become dim”
Hardening of heart is something that we are clearly warned in Scripture against, as it will only result in rebellion to the Truth and causes one to be headed for destruction, if not repented of!
Tehillah/Psalm 95:8 “Do not harden your hearts as in Meriḇah, And as in the day of Massah in the wilderness”
The Hebrew word translated as ‘harden’ comes from the primitive root קָשָׁה qashah – Strong’s H7185 which means, ‘to be hard, severe or fierce, stiffened’, and the Greek word used in the LXX (Septuagint) is σκληρύνω sklērunō – Strong’s G4645 which means, ‘to harden, becoming hardened, to become obstinate or stubborn’ and is the word used in:
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 3:8 “do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness”
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 3:12-15 “Look out, brothers, lest there be in any of you a wicked heart of unbelief in falling away from the living Elohim, 13 but encourage one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened by the deceivableness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Messiah if we hold fast the beginning of our trust firm to the end, 15 while it is said, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
What becomes abundantly clear from various passages in Scripture is that the severe warning of a heart becoming hardened is a very real danger if not guarded against! When people do not like what they hear and rebel, they do so because their heart is hardened to the Truth and here we are also warned of the deception of sin that hardens the heart! A hardened heart is a stubborn heart that refuses to submit and walk in the Truth and will cause one to grow in pride rather than in humility!
When a heart is hardened the Truth is not considered properly as it should be or as it would normally be, and this teaches us the vital lesson we must learn in being on guard against selfishness and pride that hardens one’s heart!
Selfishness and pride shuts out the ability for one to pay a calm and focused attention to the Truth, rendering the one with a hardened heart unable to give proper ear to the hearing of the Word! That is why we see the instruction given to us in Iḇ’rim/Hebrews is of vital importance; as we are to encourage each other daily so that none be hardened by the deceivableness of sin!
As we take heed of the parable of the Sower we are able to learn that clear danger that the worries of this life and the deceit of riches can do to one’s heart as it chokes out the Living Word leaving it hardened and unable to see, hear or do the Truth!
When the heart is hardened one cannot understand the Truth, and when one does not pay proper attention to the Truth, possibly due to the drifting desires of selfishness and pride, then the Truth cannot be properly understood! Hardness of heart influences people opinions as well as their emotions! When a heart becomes hardened for various reasons then the one who is hardened will become very defensive in their justification of their wickedness and pride.
The taught ones of the Master were surrounded by physical trials and under the pressure of trials they had not remembered, nor understood about the loaves because of a hardened heart! How quickly a heart can become hardened by trials!!! Under the threat of the roaring wind and rough seas, the miracle of the loaves had left no impression on the hearts of the taught ones. The Bread of Life came walking on the water and they were greatly astonished and marvelled at what they saw, yet due to a hardness of heart they could not understand about the loaves being the clear proof that יהושע Messiah, the Bread of Life, had come from Heaven and was here to give abundant life to those who believe!
You would think that they would have learned from this, yet we see again in Marqos/Mark Chapter 8 how they were warned against the false teachings and doctrines of the Pharisees that could so easily corrupt their hearts and minds away from the Truth and harden their hearts from seeing and recognising the full revelation of who the Master יהושע Messiah is! However, they misunderstood what the Master was saying and through hardened hearts they assumed that He was referring to the fact that they had no bread with them on the boat! This is a sobering warning of how many, due to a hardened heart, can so easily misunderstand the Word of Truth and misinterpret it to something completely irrelevant!
In Marqos/Mark Chapter 16 we again see how the 11 are rebuked for their hardened hearts that caused them not to belief the Truth or His resurrection!
What then can harden one’s heart? Many things! Vain traditions and false doctrines of man can harden hearts so much that the eyes of those who have hardened hearts cannot see the Truth no matter how plainly it is presented to them!
The Pharisees were so hardened by their own self assumed intelligence that no evidence that the Master gave could convince them that He is the Messiah, that is that He is יהוה our Saviour! Today we see how many hearts are hardened so much that they cannot see this plain Truth and revelation!
So many have become hardened through the leaven of the Pharisees that deny the Master and through many twisted theologies they justify their beliefs as being acceptable and fail to recognise their own selfish compromise of the Truth as the mirror of the Word has become so dimmed in their eyes that they firmly believe that what they are doing is not wrong, and are unable to acknowledge יהושע Messiah, The Bread of Life, as Master and Elohim!
I could certainly go on for hours on the effects of hardened hearts, however the main lesson that I want to bring tonight is the reality of how even those who had walked so close to the Master had become hardened in their hearts and were unable to recognise who He is, which caused their belief to falter when it was needed most!
The dangers of hearts being hardened are faced every day by each and every one of us! How we respond to any given situation will reveal the state of our hearts, which יהוה knows and tries, in order to see if we will love Him with all our heart! We must be able to honestly assess our lives when looking intently into the mirror of the Word and ask ourselves on a regular basis the following question, “Is my heart hard?” When asking this we must assess our every thought, word and action and determine if our faith is being strengthened by the hearing, guarding and doing of the Word or has something such and pride and selfishness, or even disappointment, caused a hardening of our heart!
Hardened hearts will not be heard by Elohim!
Zeḵaryah/Zechariah 7:8-13 “And the word of יהוה came to Zeḵaryah, saying, 9 “Thus said יהוה of hosts, ‘Execute true right-ruling, show kindness and compassion everyone to his brother. 10 “Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the stranger or the poor. And do not plot evil in your hearts against one another.’ 11 “But they refused to listen, and they shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears from hearing. 12 “And they made their hearts like flint against hearing the Torah, and the words, which יהוה of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great wrath came from יהוה of hosts. 13 “And it came to be: as He called and they did not hear, so let them call, but I shall not hear,” said יהוה of hosts.”
Many have hardened their heart from hearing the Torah and the Prophets and in the day of His wrath they who have hardened their hearts will call and not be heard! As we consider the danger of a hardened heart let us all be on guard against anything that can cause this, be it the deceit of wealth and the worries of this age, or be it because we do not get our own way! How many times have you hardened your heart because you did not get what you want or because you were reproved for something you did that was wrong, or even when someone has wronged you and you harbour bitterness that can harden even the softest of hearts? Fear can also cause a heart to be hardened and forget the Truth! When hearts get hardened they do not remember who it is who gives them life and risk the danger of being deafened by selfish deceit and blinded by sin and compromise. How is your heart?
A HARDENED HEART DEAFENS THE EAR AND BLINDS THE EYE!
He who has ears let Him hear what the Spirit says to the body of Messiah!
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face to and give you shalom!