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John 14:

22 Judas (not Iscariot) asked Him, “Lord, why are You going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?”

23Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. The word that you hear is not My own, but it is from the Father who sent Me.

25All this I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you.

Jesus' answer reminds me of political talking points. After reading Jesus' answer, my question still remains. Can someone help me out? Why was Jesus going to reveal himself to the disciples and not to the world?

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  • He will, but not yet.
    – steveowen
    Jun 20 at 5:02
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By "reveal", it is understood to mean the coming of the Holy Spirit to dwell within the disciples, or as Jesus put it:

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. [Jn 14:18,19]

It was then Judas asked why. So I suppose you are asking with the same puzzlement as Judas, ie why not give the Holy Spirit to the "world" too, instead of just the disciples.

It is also clear that the disciples did not understand how exactly this "revelation" will be until at Pentecost. Now we know, namely the baptism of the Holy Spirit to those that believed. And in like manner as the disciples knew Jesus then, so too do believers today know Jesus, via the indwelling Spirit, and it confirms God's acceptance of the believer, or as Peter, at the Jerusalem Council puts it:

And God, who knows the heart, showed His approval by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as He did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for He cleansed their hearts by faith. [Ac 15:8.9]

So why not give the Holy Spirit without discrimination, to everyone in the world? Not unless the world's heart is cleansed by faith too.

For like in the Temple, no one can enter the Holy of Holies without the proper sacrifices, else they die. So today too the Holy Spirit does not dwell in the temple of the body unless it is cleansed, and acceptable as a holy vessel.

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Jesus explains why and in so doing he cites some passages that give even more elaboration. The main reason is to prevent people from repenting and being forgiven or healed.

Here are some proof passages:

Mark 4.10-12

And when he was alone, those around him together with the twelve began asking him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been granted the secret of the kingdom of God, but to those who are outside everything is in parables, so that ‘they may look closely and not perceive, and they may listen carefully and not understand, lest they turn and it be forgiven them.’ ”

Note that the passage being cited is from Isaiah, which provides more details:

Is 6.9-13

And he said, “Go and say to this people, ‘Keep on listening and do not comprehend! And keep on looking and do not understand!’ Make the heart of this people insensitive, and make its ears unresponsive, and shut its eyes so that it may not look with its eyes and listen with its ears and comprehend with its mind and turn back, and it may be healed for him.”

Then I said, “Until when, Lord?” And he said, “Until the cities lie wasted without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is ruined and a waste, and Yahweh sends the people far away, and the abandonment is great in the midst of the land. And even if only a tenth part remain, again she will be destroyed like a terebinth or like an oak, which although felled, a tree stump remains in them. The seed of holiness will be her tree stump.”

So the idea is that God will prevent the nation (of Israel) from hearing until it is wasted and only a small remnant remains. Note the seed of holiness is a reference to Messiah which will start growing in that wasted/abandoned land.

As another proof text, look at 1 Cor 2.6-14:

Now we do speak wisdom among the mature, but wisdom not of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are perishing, but we speak the hidden wisdom of God in a mystery, which God predestined before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew. For if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and have not entered into the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him.” For to us God has revealed them through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man that is in him? Thus also 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, in order that we may know the things freely given to us by God, things which we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

There, some more details are revealed:

  • If the world could see Christ, they would not have crucified him
  • The natural mind is an enemy of God and cannot see him, and even considers the things of God to be foolish.
  • The only way someone can see the things of God is if the Spirit of God reveals it to them. Thus Jesus can only be seen by his disciples.

If you want to know why is God doing this, or what the plan is for humanity as a whole, there are different interpretations based on your theological tradition

  • Personal interpretation: The land is a reference to you, and so you will not hear/see until you are ready and those things you trusted in are destroyed

  • Dispensational intepretation: God is blinding Israel to make room for the ingathering of gentiles

  • Calvinist interpretation: Only a small remnant of "the elect" may be saved and everyone else is blinded and prevented from repenting

Other interpretations are also possible. I'm not going to get into those debates here, you can find lots of resources on the web, but the scriptures are clear that God is responsible for hardening hearts and preventing people from seeing just as God is responsible for revealing Christ to those he has chosen.

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  • good answer, but I wouldn't say, "God is responsible for hardening hearts". Yes he is responsible for UNhardening (as you've noted in last line). The Devil is who hardened and God allows that to remain for a time - even His precious Israel and most of His beloved creation.
    – steveowen
    Jun 20 at 4:56

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