The New Testament saints of the 1st century needed apostolic authority to establish and open that which was declared by Christ, and yet was purposefully couched in parables, “That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them” (Mark 4:12); but, as it was written, “It is given unto you [the apostles] to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given” (Matt. 13:11).
“And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.”
— Luke 8:10
The parables of Christ were designedly obscure that the hearts of all men would be revealed, and that many would fall, and many would rise through His words, according to the prophecy of that old man of God Simeon, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34,35). His words which were gracious and forcible, which seized the consciences of all men upon whom they did fall, were also holy, and exceeding broad (Psa. 60:6; 119:96)! His words brought all men into an irresistible confrontation with eternity, and the searching question came: “Will they hear?” (Luke 16:31; Acts 28:28).
Therefore some stumbled and fell backwards, and perished, while others were exalted to inherit the throne of glory, and were staggeringly saved, BOTH through the operation of His word (Isa. 28:9-13)! The same operation, exercising the hearts of mankind in two dramatically different, eternally decisive ways! The eternal doom of some sealed, and others gloriously liberated into the pure sun light of heaven’s perfect day — through the word of Jesus the Nazarene!
The obscurity was intended to be dissolved through the instruction and interpretation of Christ, and truly it was (though only in part), as it was written, “Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord” (Matt. 13:51). Yea, He was daily devoting Himself to the private instruction of His beloved friends, “And when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples” (Mark 4:34). Of this supernatural and discriminate revelation, Christ giveth praise to the Father in the great forsaking in the midst of Jerusalem, saying,
“I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.”
— Matt. 11:25,26
Notwithstanding all this labor, their eyes were still partially holden (Luke 24:16), and their ears dull of hearing, till after the resurrection! “But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying” (Luke 9:45). Thus did Christ miraculously and instantaneously open the understanding of his apostles after the resurrection, as is stated in Luke 24:45, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.” And it was at this point, for forty days long, as Christ walked and dwelt among the apostles, that he instructed them and made them worthy preachers and teachers of his gospel from thenceforth! And therefore it was ordained that they would go into all the world, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20).
In other words the 12 disciples which Christ entrusted with the interpretations of his parables (or, proverbs — see, Prov. 1:5,6), were charged by Christ to go into all the world and themselves make disciples, bringing them into this very same manner of relationship which they had to Christ! This particular and fundamental understanding of discipleship (namely, the instructing in interpreting proverbs) is vitally formative to our approach to the NT of the apostles of Christ, and how the Spirit of the Lord led them to interpret the prophecies concerning the ministry of the Messiah (see, Appendix I)! For they did not speak of themselves, but rather were opening and confirming the words of Christ, and were instructing and committing to “faithful men” (II Tim. 2:2) "the mysteries of God” (I Cor. 4:1)… O how we need to behold the methods of interpretation which were entrusted to their stewardship!
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”
— I John 1:1-4
You see, the vital reality of the New Testament saints — which we cannot live without steadfastly beholding! — is that, as the saints came under the spiritual influence of the witness and instruction of the the apostles of Christ (through discipleship), were instantaneously brought into the same manner of fellowship which the apostles had with Christ Himself! Hence, the first disciples saved at Pentecost, first of all, “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42)! Understanding, therefore, this organic band, through which they were brought into this staggering degree of gloriously near and real fellowship with the Father and the Son (namely, an understanding ministered unto them through the word of the apostles), then, from thenceforth they would hold dear to these words! Therefore, in application, if we would devote ourselves in the same manner, and to the same doctrine (ministered with its original, and unadulterated intent), then we would effortlessly be ushered thereby into this glorious reality of communion with Jesus Christ, even as the apostles had themselves!
The ministry of the apostles was, therefore, an in-expendable component to the opening and establishment of those things which would have otherwise been left in obscurity! God all wise, rose up these 12 men in particular for this express purpose: to declare the gospel of the coming kingdom of Christ (which was just established in heaven, and was set to be restored in Israel upon the Jew’s repentance and reception of the Christ of God, Jesus of Nazareth)! They succeeded to make this midnight cry in Jerusalem, and throughout all of Judea, and even unto Samaria (Acts 1:8; 8:1); but, ere long, as the Jews stiffened their necks still yet further (Acts 7), the time arose, in the which the Lord ordained that the gospel would go unto the Gentiles (Acts 10 & 11)! And, therefore, it is on purpose that the conversion of the foreordained apostle to THE GENTILES was at this crucial juncture (Rom. 11:13; Gal. 2:7,8; Eph. 3:1; 4:1; I Tim. 2:7; Tit. 1:11)!