This is a very good question, for on the surface it does seem to be teaching this. Let’s read Mark 4:11-12, “And He said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done 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.”

In verse 12, the Lord Jesus is quoting from Isaiah 6:9-10 and if we grasp the meaning of that, we will be able to understand the verse in question. Isaiah’s sins had just been cleansed and immediately he offered himself to the Lord as His messenger. The Lord responded with these words, “Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” Isaiah was given a message for the people in Israel that would, in effect, make their hearts harder and they would be blinded to the truth. Why would the Lord do this? Because He had proclaimed His Word to them time and time again and they had continually hardened their hearts and rejected the truth. They had proved that they did NOT want the truth, so now God would give them over to judgment by preaching to them a message they couldn’t understand. In W. E. Vine’s Commentary on Isaiah he writes, “The people had so persistently perverted their ways that they had gone beyond the possibility of conversion and healing. A man may so harden himself in evil as to render his condition irremediable, and this by God’s retributive judgment upon him.”

In our portion in Mark 4:11-12, the Lord Jesus is telling His disciples that just as Isaiah preached to a people a message they could never understand, so He too would speak to “them that are without” in parables that they would never understand. He is referring to all those who had heard Him preach and had willfully rejected the truth. Like the people in Isaiah’s day, their hearts were so hard that they had, in essence, come to “the point of no return.” They had heard the truth simply and plainly for the last time and now the Lord would only speak in parables which would result in them being even more blinded to the truth.

We believe there are those today who fall into this class of people. They have heard the gospel of God’s grace over and over again and each time they hear it they spurn God’s love and grace. They have become so hardened to the good news of Jesus Christ that God has given them over to what we may call “judicial blindness,” where they will never have the opportunity to repent and be forgiven. A solemn example of God’s judicial blindness is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” After the rapture of the church there will be many people who will be given over to the lie of the Antichrist. They had heard the gospel prior to the rapture, but “they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” Now they are at the “point of no return!” Salvation’s day is past and their doom will be sealed as they gladly accept the Antichrist and the lie that he is God. We must emphasize that they did NOT want the truth, so God simply delivered them over to what they did want: the LIE! (167.9) (DO)