LCG Article

What the Parable of the Sower Shows Us About the Last Great Day

Spiritual vision and hearing is a miracle, and the annual Last Great Day reminds us that God has promised that the rest of humanity will have that miracle offered to them at the end of His millennial Sabbath.

Dexter B. Wakefield

The Last Great Day holds a wonderful truth that most professing Christians do not know—but it is a truth that in time will give them hope of entering the Kingdom of God. Parables, contrary to what many professing Christians believe, hold truths couched in stories that hide their deepest meaning from those whom God has not called.

How appropriate, then, that in one of Christ’s parables, the Parable of the Sower, we find powerful teachings about the Last Great Day and its importance for humanity. We read:

“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Mark 4:3–9).

Jesus made that last statement because some listeners had ears to hear what He was saying, and some didn’t.

The Purpose of Parables Is to Obscure Truths

Mark continues:

But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. 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, so that ‘seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn, and their sins be forgiven them’” (Mark 4:10–12; cf. Matthew 13:10–17; Luke 8:9–10).

So, by using parables, Jesus said that He was intentionally obscuring deeper truths from those not called to spiritual understanding, repentance, and forgiveness.

Continuing further, “He said to them, ‘Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear’” (vv. 21–22). Clearly, some could hear, and some could not.

But didn’t Jesus come to make it possible for everyone’s sins to be forgiven? Didn’t He come to reveal God’s truth to the whole world? If so, why would He withhold vital information about the Kingdom of God from so many? Why would He intentionally prevent the very people He came to save from gaining understanding that would enable them to have their sins forgiven?

Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, so why did He conceal it? Was He putting His “lamp under a basket”? Jesus said that His disciples could know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, but He intended for the average person listening to Him to not know them—yet wouldn’t preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God involve telling everyone the mysteries that the disciples were learning? Why did Jesus use parables to conceal meaning?

The answers to those questions help us understand one of the great meanings of the Last Great Day. Traditional “Christianity” doesn’t keep this Holy Day and doesn’t understand its truth—but if you keep this awesome day, you can understand. Let’s look further.

God Is Not Calling Everyone Now

In this parable there are four types of responses. The seed took root for a while with some, but it died out for one reason or another. In only one case did the seed bear fruit. Indeed, in the experience of the ministry, we can recognize most new contacts falling into one of these four categories.

Some fall by the wayside, and Satan takes the word away from them. It could be lack of interest, opposition from a mainstream “minister” who discourages the hearer of the word, or a “friend” who says untrue things about God’s Church. For whatever reason, they never really get started.

Some fall on stony ground and have no root. Often, new people are excited about what they first understand, but they don’t study their Bibles. As a result, they lack doctrinal depth. If they don’t have a depth of understanding of their faith, that faith withers and dries up when doctrinal trials—or personal trials—come up, like the heat of the sun in the parable.

Some seed fell among thorns “and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:18–19).

Happily, some seed falls on good ground—and produces much fruit.

Sadly, some who are called never bear any fruit and eventually depart from their calling. The New Testament clearly warns against falling away like that. Why? Because it can and does happen! Willful sin can cost people their salvation because it shows an unrepentant heart. “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries (Hebrews 10:26–27).

Consider these additional scriptures in the book of Hebrews:

… Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end…. Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God…. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Hebrews 3:6–14).

(Other examples in the New Testament include Matthew 10:22; John 15:1–6; Romans 8:13; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 10:12; 2 Corinthians 6:1; 13:5; Galatians 5:4; 6:7–10; Colossians 1:20–23; 1 Timothy 3:6–7; Hebrews 4:11; 10:35–39; 12:14–15; 2 Peter 1:8–10; 2:20–22; 3:17; Jude 24; Revelation 2:5; 17:14; 21:7.)

In the Bible—and also in the experience of the ministry—we find that many people hear and begin to understand the word but do not come to fruition. These people are responsible for what they know and reject. “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required” (Luke 12:48). Willfully rejecting Christ’s sacrifice after having been cleansed of sins because of His sacrifice can cost eternal life. A willful sin is one that is recognized yet unrepented of.

Happily, God doesn’t stop working with people unless they fully harden their hearts against Him. We have seen quite a few people return to the body of Christ after having left the Church many years ago. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

But even if they don’t come to services just now, there remains hope for unconverted relatives and friends—and all others in the world. The Apostle Paul made it clear that God doesn’t want anyone to fail and He has a plan for all humanity. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1–4).

There Are Ears That Do Not Hear

God isn’t calling everyone in this age. He tells us that He hides His truth from some and reveals it to those we might not expect. Jesus said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight” (Matthew 11:25–26).

Paul explained further:

However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God (1 Corinthians 2:6–12).

God has a plan that includes all people. In His goodness and mercy, God has made provision for those who—through their life circumstances, their personalities, or a myriad of other factors—are at risk of not coming to fruition, even if they are exposed to the truth. God knows that in this age, many people who receive the word will fail, as in the first three categories of the Parable of the Sower. So, He tells them the truth in a parable, and they hear it, but He does not open their eyes and ears to understand. They do not “hear with their ears,” just as was prophesied (Isaiah 6:10). Jesus said twice, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!” The Father enables His Church to understand and draws us to Him.

Scripture states this plainly, but it remains an enigma to much of “orthodox Christianity.” Its meaning can be understood fully only in understanding the meaning of the Last Great Day. “For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all” (Romans 11:32). The Last Great Day pictures that “mercy on all.”

What About Those Who Never Heard the Word?

Here is an excerpt from a booklet put out by an evangelical group. It expresses a common error.

There are only two kinds of people: those who are named in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and those who are not. For the first group, the future holds joy everlasting at the right hand of the Father—for the latter group, if they do not come to Christ, the future holds the everlasting torment of hell, without God. And the difference between the two groups? Simply this: somewhere along the line, the blessed ones who have been accepted by God as His children heard the story of salvation and responded by giving their hearts to Jesus …and those who are lost have either heard and rejected or never heard the story. What a slim turn of events on which to rest the eternal fate of a human soul. Thank God that all it takes to go from “lost” to “saved” is the simple act of embracing Jesus (Rob Hoskins, Only One Hope).

How does this doctrine square with Romans 11:31–32? Or with Matthew 13:11? In these scriptures, Jesus said that He intentionally prevented people from understanding so they wouldn’t repent and wouldn’t have their sins forgiven. “Orthodox Christian” doctrine assumes that God intentionally assigns to eternal hellfire all those who do not understand.

Yet Romans 11:31–32 said that He hid the word out of mercy.

And what about the claim of a fiery damnation of innocent little children who never heard the name of Jesus Christ? Untold millions of children were born, lived, and died without hearing of Christ or the Kingdom of God. According to the horrific teaching that many in “orthodox Christianity” have accepted, those babies and small children, along with their parents, are tortured in burning flames forever, just for having the bad luck to be born in the wrong place or the wrong time. This terrible mistake not only blasphemes God as unjust, but over the centuries—and still today—has caused many to be discouraged or lose faith. Atheists cite it as a reason not to believe. Roman Catholicism has invented “Limbo”—the supposed abode of unbaptized children—but this is imaginative and unbiblical theology necessitated by their false doctrine.

God is not calling the whole world now, and His word says that this is because of His mercy. If you keep the Holy Days including the Last Great Day, you can understand how God will accomplish 1 Timothy 2:4, which states that He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Not all will accept it, but He certainly desires that they do, and will give all a full opportunity.

Everyone Will Have an Opportunity for Eternal Life

Three times a year, God’s Holy Days teach us the good news of what Christ did (the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread), what he is doing (the Day of Pentecost), and what He will do (the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day).

While Pentecost teaches us that God is calling His little flock in this evil age to be firstfruits in the first resurrection (James 1:18; Revelation 14:4), the Last Great Day teaches us that everyone who has ever lived will have a full opportunity for eternal life. That opportunity will occur after the second resurrection at the end of Christ’s millennial Sabbath (Revelation 20:4–6).

As Jesus said, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!” His converted disciples see and hear. If you are one of them, God opened your eyes and ears; He taught you His truth, gave you true faith, brought you to true repentance and baptism, and gave you His Holy Spirit. He set you apart—He made you holy. This is a miracle that happens to all whom God calls, and we should think of it as such. It is a miracle God will perform for all who are willing to receive it. All who have ever lived and not been called will come up in the second resurrection, and they will then have their opportunity for salvation—eternal life in God’s Kingdom—which they never had before.

What a loving, just, merciful, righteous, and good Father and Savior we have. As Paul exulted in Romans 11:33, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!”

We have a great blessing from God, as Matthew explains:

“And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. 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 hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it” (Matthew 13:14–17).

Our seeing and hearing is a miracle, and the Last Great Day reminds us annually that God has promised that the rest of humanity will have it offered to them at the end of His millennial Sabbath. Always remember that hearing and vision is a miracle and a blessing, and treat it as such. Let’s be thankful for it—and use it.